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Not Everyone Makes It

Not Everyone Makes It

Thus says the Lord: “As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who dwell in Samaria be rescued . . .” Amos 3:12

Years ago, I trekked up a spectacular mountain in Colorado with a large group of guys. It was an eight-hour, 14-mile round trip, that required a lot of hiking, traversing narrow ledges, and a final scramble up a narrow chute to the peak. When I got to the top, I waited for the rest to arrive. As only a few appeared, they gave reports of others turning back. We waited, but eventually headed down, realizing that only a fraction of those who set out, made it.

Any difficult endeavor is like this. Of those with food addictions, only a small percentage ever live free from the destructive consequences of their eating. Most of those enslaved to pornography will continue to struggle. Drug addiction is no different. Most of those I went to treatment with have relapsed at some point. The way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7:14).

This is the bitter lesson highlighted in today’s passage, in which the prophet Amos predicted a coming judgement upon God’s people for wandering from him. In their destructive behavior, Amos prophesied that they would be so utterly overthrown, that only a small remnant, a piece of an ear, would make it.

I don’t wish to embrace futility, but this is a concept that is necessary for me to understand when working with addicts. The gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many (Matthew 7:13). When I get frustrated with the addict who refuses help, I must remind myself that only a few make it.* As much as I may dislike it, God allows us to continue in our destruction.

As sad as that is, there are those who will travel the narrow path. We don’t know who is who is right now, but God does. So, we must stay on the right path ourselves and we must continue to pray and do what we can to take as many as possible with us.

 

* To be clear, I’m not suggesting that the one who struggles with addiction is not a Christian. I’m just insisting on the principle that the more difficult the struggle, the fewer who find success. This is why we all need Christ, because we all struggle, and fail, at something.

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  1. Sarah says:

    A bitter lesson indeed. But thankfully we have a merciful God who has warned us of what our destruction can do. And although it is often (rarely?) easy to stay on the “straight & narrow”, He is here to guide and help us – we just need to choose to follow Him and accept His guidance. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?! But in enters our sinful nature and the struggle ensues. And like you so frequently (and wisely) point out – it is so important that on the daily we abandon our own will and choose His, filling ourselves with Him and taking his warnings seriously. And as stated in Matthew, “the way is hard”, but the I believe the final destination will be so very worth it.

    • Scott says:

      It shall be worth it of course. I believe it’s worth it here and now too. I’m much less miserable, even though I’ve surrendered (or tried to surrender) “doing what I want”. I just don’t want to get too overconfident in my recovery. Pride goes before destruction (or something like that), right? I need to stay humble and grateful that I’m on the right path and not get too annoyed when others aren’t there yet.

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