Steps One and Two: Helplessness and Hope
Hezekiah received the letter . . . and went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. 2 Kings 19:14
Step One of AA says, We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. Step Two says, We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
I have met those who chafe at step one, as it insists we are helpless on our own. Those who dislike this concept maintain some optimism that they can figure life out alone. Those of us know better, admit our condition. The reality is, God often uses our misery (step one) to drive us to step two, where we see that our only hope is in Him. Those who never see their need for God will never really find Him.
Today’s passage, about King Hezekiah, models step one and two without even mentioning addiction. In the story, Hezekiah, a godly king of Judah, received an ominous letter from the Assyrians, threatening to conquer his kingdom. Outmatched and hopeless, Hezekiah realized his powerlessness and turned to his only hope. Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord.
Like Hezekiah, we too, are powerless to save ourselves. We need God and without Him, we are destined to wallow in our own misery. Not everyone can accept this though. This may be where addicts have some advantage. Our lives, like Hezekiah’s, have been brought to the place where we must admit our condition.
The danger, is to think that my need has passed. I’ve recovered. Thanks for the help back when I needed you, God. The truth is, I must daily admit step one, if I want to live out step two, where I continually turn to God. When I fail to see my need, I return to self-sufficiency, which always leads back to misery.
Our need today may not be drug addiction or conquering Assyrians. It may be a struggle with food, pride, lust or selfishness. Or, our greatest struggle right now may be a loved one’s addiction. Whatever our greatest need is, we must admit our inability to fix it on our own and allow it to daily drive us to God, the only one who gives us hope and saves us from ourselves.