Does the Alcoholic Need a Higher Power?
I am the door. John 10:9
Back in my college years, a couple of buddies and I went out hiking in the mountains. As we set out from the trailhead, we decided not to follow the trail. If you’ve ever hiked in the mountains, you know that even though you can see the peak right there, the trail winds back and forth, never taking what would seem to be the most obvious route. Tired of the meandering trail, we took off on our own path, heading straight for the peak.
Hours later, exhausted from going straight up, scratched up from all the undergrowth, and a little lost, we couldn’t see or find our way to the peak. Eventually, we found the trail and accepted that the only way up, was to follow it through a narrow chute and an actual tunnel or door through the rock. There was just no other way. If we wanted to get to the peak, we needed to take the trail.
In today’s passage, Jesus used a similar metaphor to describe himself. In the narrative, he spoke about sheep and a sheepfold. Inside the sheepfold, the sheep could experience abundant life, but they could only get into the green pasture through the door. Jesus claimed that he himself was that door and any sheep that wanted in, must come through him.
The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous similarly insists (in step three) that if we truly want to find recovery, we must turn our will and lives over to the care of God. The abundant life is waiting for us, but if we want it, we must come to it through God. We’ve made a mess in following ourselves. Now, if we want transformation, we must follow something far above our own disastrous will. We can try to get there by following ourselves, but that route leads only to more pain and failure.
Many of us have stumbled at step three. For some, it’s simply a problem of believing in God. For me, I always believed. I’ve just had trouble – and I still do – surrendering my will. It’s my nature to want to be in control.
As Jesus said though, if we desire the abundant life, we must come to him. This is a decision we make once, but it’s also a decision we make daily. Because we keep trying resume control, daily, we must practice step three, surrendering our will and lives over to God.