When Do We Relapse?
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines . . . yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18
For most of us, when we’ve caused ourselves some significant misery, turning to God in that misery is natural. When in treatment for my chemical dependency, I read my Bible, prayed, and meditated more than I ever have in my life. In jail, the guys that come to Bible study turn themselves towards God and promise to follow him all the days of their lives.
For the addict, the greatest risk for apathy and a return to former the former way of thinking, is of course, not in treatment or in jail. It’s when the discomfort of jail or treatment is removed, and life goes back to normal. In our discomfort, we turn to God. In our success, we often return to following ourselves.
In today’s passage, Habakkuk insists that even in the hard times of famine and need, he will continue to rejoice in God. This can be difficult. It is absolutely a challenge to find peace and joy in God in times of trial. For the Israelites though, the tough times were not the most dangerous for their faith. For them, it was in the good times that they abandoned God.
We always need God. It’s just that in times of prosperity, the temptation is to become self-reliant. When everything is stripped away in times of loss, we’re painfully aware of our need. When we’re fat, dumb, and happy though, we stop clinging so desperately to God. This is why he uses trials to shape us.
Though I do it far from perfectly, spiritual growth for me has meant that I must daily choose to turn to God. I must daily find my peace, joy, and purpose in him, in both good times and bad. Whatever yesterday was like, today I must get up early to read, pray and meditate. If I want to know faith and recovery, I’ve learned that I must daily make the conscious choice to point my life at God instead of me.