Saving the Hopeless
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1 Timothy 1:15
After I’d been struggling with opioids for several years, I tried to get sober. I told my wife, who was blindsided and hurt, but we got through it. It wasn’t fun, but it also wasn’t terribly disruptive to my life. I did outpatient treatment, jumped through some professional hoops, and put it behind me. My wife and the few people who were aware of it, were quite forgiving. I’d made a mistake and addressed it. Let’s move on.
Only I hadn’t addressed it. After five more years, a few more relapses, and a spectacular calamity, I found those around me weren’t quite as forgiving anymore. I couldn’t blame them. I just kept relapsing and the destruction kept getting worse. When I lost my job, everyone around me had the same thought. He’s hopeless. This is just going to keep happening. Some counseled my wife (appropriately) that she needed to separate and at least consider divorce. I can’t blame her or anyone else. I was hopeless. I was the worst person in the world. I’d known the consequences, yet I couldn’t stop. My life was on a downward spiral and anyone with me was going down too.
So, in reading today’s passage, I feel some kinship with Paul, who wrote that Christ came to save the lost, even him, the worst of sinners. Paul once blasphemed and persecuted those who followed Christ, but in his mercy, Jesus reached down and saved him. This is what God does. He transforms even those who seem to be beyond hope.
In treatment after the last relapse, I went to God, telling him I was ready. God, I’m sick of this life. I’ll do whatever it takes to change. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. My life wasn’t all fixed that day, but that was the beginning of transformation. Today, nearly eight years later, I can say that I don’t struggle with wanting to take pills. I still know they’d feel good, but I want my new life far more than I want the old one. Compared to that hopeless addict who couldn’t stop using, I am living a miracle. Again, that is God’s business – to transform and save the hopeless.
If you don’t need saving, that’s fine. But, if like me, you know you need transformation, then take your life to God. Give it to him. Ask him what he wants you to do. Then do it. In your misery, you can learn faith and you can find a new life. This is what God does. He saves the hopeless.