What Would You Give to Change?
In the whole land, declares the Lord, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver . . . Zechariah 13:8-9
I have come to very much appreciate the life and joy to be found in recovery. I don’t live perfectly, but I’m profoundly thankful that I’m not causing myself the misery I did in my addiction. Now, I spend a fair amount of time attempting to help others find recovery, which frankly, can be frustrating. Why do you insist on the despair of using? Why won’t you go to treatment? I know how miserable you are. Why do you refuse change?
If I’m truthful, I can see how disingenuous my frustration is. I’ve been there and honestly, I had to be dragged into treatment. As much as I’d like to think I made the tough choice to get sober, I surrendered only when the pain of addiction overwhelmed me. Sure, I could have kept using . . . and lost everything.
For those of us who struggle, these are the two options offered by Zechariah. Speaking for God about his disobedient people, Zechariah said that a full two thirds of them wouldn’t make it. Most of them would succumb to their destructive behavior and be cut off from God. The third that made it would be put through fiery trials to shape them, as it is often only in pain that we change.
It is exactly this pain of growth that keeps many of us from changing. I hear it often. I can’t go to treatment. I have a job. The job won’t be around for long if the addict doesn’t go, but still, the pain of change is too much. What’s the option though? Today’s passage insists that if we aren’t among those being refined by God, we are amongst those who are lost to our own self-destruction.
It is often only through discomfort that we change. If we refuse change, we will find ourselves on the broad path that the majority of people take to their own demise. Transformation, abandoning self, and following God may be uncomfortable now, but it is the only path to faith, life, and recovery.