How Did My Life Get Here?
And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire . . . Revelation 17:16
Working in correctional medicine, I often meet those who’ve been newly incarcerated and frankly, they’re freaking out. I don’t belong here. This is all a huge mistake. I need to get out. Maybe they had a little too much to drink and then got behind the wheel of a car. Whatever it was, they don’t feel they’re criminals and they don’t believe they belong in jail. Their world has been turned upside down and they’re not coping well. How did I get here? I swear I ‘m never going to drink again. It’s usually only through this misery that they can begin to comprehend how self-destructive their life choices have been.
Maybe I’ve not been in jail, but I’ve felt this way. When my drug use came to light and I nearly lost my family and career, part of me knew the end was coming but another part of me was astonished at its arrival. This isn’t real. This can’t be happening. How did my life get here? I was in a state of desperate panic, caught in a disaster that I was powerless to control. Up until that point, I knew what I was doing was wrong, but it wasn’t until life came crashing down that I began to comprehend how terrible my addiction was. In that cataclysm, I turned on my pills. Once I ‘d pursued them, giving my life to them. At that point though, I finally realized I had to treat them as the hateful enemy that they were.
This is the nature of evil, pictured in today’s passage. In it, John described a metaphorical prostitute with whom the leaders of the world would commit metaphorical adultery, following her instead of God. Once they realized they’d been duped by her evil though, they turned on her, destroying her. They once pursued evil’s attraction, but having been burned by it, they could finally see it for what it truly was.
We don’t have to go to jail or be addicted to drugs to understand this. We’ve all got something that distracts us from the life we should be living. Whatever that thing is, we find it attractive, convincing ourselves it’s harmless. One day though, hopefully before it’s too late to change, we will see our gluttony, lust, excessive screen time, pride, greed, or anger for the evil that it causes in our lives. When we realize its destruction, we must turn on it, doing whatever it takes to abandon it, following God’s way instead of our own.