Thankful for Second Chances
Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just. Revelation 19:1-2
Eight years ago this week, my wife and kids traveled to visit some extended family for a graduation celebration. I didn’t go. I just wasn’t welcome, and I didn’t want to go. I’d only been sober for a few months and my life was still a disaster. I was back working but I still had to meet with the state medical board and their judgment loomed over my life. My wife and I were working on our marriage, but things weren’t great. So, while they flew east to see family, I packed up and drove west, to the Black Hills of South Dakota, where I’d spent childhood vacations. I drove, hiked, and camped alone. I was thankful for my recovery, but I still longed for my family to be whole again. This wasn’t a fun weekend getaway for dad. This was painfully obvious that I simply didn’t belong with everyone else. I didn’t blame them. My melancholy wasn’t self-pity. I alone was responsible for the condition of my life.
This last week then, has stood as glorious evidence of my recovery from that old life, as I packed up with my parents, wife, and children to make the trip west. This time, we wanted to be together. Are we perfect? No. We still all have our struggles and flaws. Do we love and like each other now? Most of the time. Have I stopped destroying our lives with drugs? Absolutely. In my addiction I broke everything. In recovery now, God has been gracious enough to allow me to put things back together. When I pursue my way, life is a disaster. When I abandon me to pursue God’s way, life comes back together.
In reading and writing through Revelation, this blog has been a bit gloomy. Over the last few chapters, the Earth has been in full-scale rebellion against God and he in turn, has been full of wrath and judgment. So, I’ve been writing about the terrible consequences of man’s way. In today’s passage though, John described a voice from heaven crying out words of praise and thankfulness to God.
This is an important reminder for me and my writing. I must remind myself and I must write about, not just the disaster of addiction, but the wonder and glory of faith and recovery. When I follow myself, life is terrible. When I follow God, life is beautiful. He doesn’t promise to make me wealthy and successful, but he does promise that in following him, I’ll stop destroying my life. So today, I’ll be thankful for faith, recovery, and second chances.