The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. Acts 16:14
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with an alcoholic in treatment who got there by way of intervention. He acknowledged that he would have simply kept on drinking, knowing that it was destroying him, because he was addicted. When his family came together though, confronting his behavior in an intervention, it opened his eyes to the impact his drinking had on his family. Previously, he’d been unwilling to do what it took to change, but when his family did what they could, he became willing to try.
When the intervention was over, his problems were not. When I spoke with him, he was in treatment, struggling with cravings and working things out with God. What the intervention did however, was to get him to a place where he could work on his faith and recovery. While drinking, he was hopelessly lost and blind, completely unable to turn from his own path to follow God’s. Now, God must intervene, working out the miraculous transformation that occurs in recovery. Family didn’t save this man, but God used the family’s intervention to draw this man to himself.
In today’s passage, Paul shared the gospel with a group of women in Philippi. One particular woman, Lydia, is mentioned, as God opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. Paul did what he could to intervene in her life, but as the passage says, something else had to happen for transformation to occur. God had to move in her, opening her eyes to her need for him.
When we’re trying to help those around us, we must remember what we can and cannot do. We cannot have faith or recover for anyone else. That doesn’t mean we’re powerless. We can do whatever it takes to intervene in the lives of those around us who desperately need transformation. We can confront them with the truth, and we can create boundaries with them.
What we cannot do, and what we must rely on God to do, is to genuinely transform them. Faith and recovery happen between the addict and God and though we can point the way and encourage, we cannot play God’s part. So, we may intervene, but, then we must pray, asking that God also performs an intervention that leads to faith, recovery, and transformation.