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You’re Going to Work in Jail

You’re Going to Work in Jail

“I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her . . .” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” Genesis 17:16-17

When I got out of treatment back in 2014, I had no job and almost no one wanted to hire me. So, I began exploring the worst physician jobs that I assumed no one wanted. What did I come up with? Correctional medicine – working in jail or prison. It’s more than a little ironic that jail was my desperation plan. It’s ironic because I now choose to work in jail. If, 20 years ago, God had told me that I’d one day practice addiction and correctional medicine, I’d have laughed. You must be mistaken. You’ve got the wrong Scott. Even now, when I tell people I work in jail because of my own history with addiction, I think some of them think that it’s a punishment. Poor guy. He has to work in jail. No one else will take him.

I’ve believed in God as long as I can remember, and I’ve always intended to follow his plan for my life. In my teens and 20s though, I began to realize that I had a problem. I wanted to follow God but I also wanted to follow my way, and the two paths were often contrary to each other. I remember praying, God, do whatever it takes to make me follow you. If he’d have told me that I was going to go through a drug addiction, lose my job, and eventually work in addiction and correctional medicine, I’d have laughed, only because the idea was so ludicrous. Me, struggle with addiction? You’ve definitely got it all wrong God.

God’s plan for our future often seems absurd to us. This was certainly the case in today’s passage. In the story, God told Abraham that his wife was going to have a son. Abraham laughed, not a laugh of disbelief, but of astonishment. Seriously? I’m almost 100 and she’s 90. As hard as it was to believe, Abraham did believe and continued to follow God’s plan, no matter how absurd it seemed.

God’s plan has rarely been the plan that I’d have chosen or predicted. His plan has always turned out best for me though. And that’s the lesson of the passage – No matter how absurd it may seem, I must follow God’s plan. I’d never have guessed 20 years ago that I’d one day work in addiction and correctional medicine, but I now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. God’s plan may have once seemed ridiculous, but that’s exactly where I’ve found my joy, recovery, and purpose.

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