This Can’t Be Happening
Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban my brother in Haran . . . Genesis 27:43
A buddy and I went to a movie last night in which one of the main characters, in pursuit of wealth, gradually got himself deeper and deeper into a life of crime. As his misdeeds caught up with him and everything came crashing down, he displayed bewilderment – This can’t be happening. I just want to go back to my family and my normal life. But there was no normal life left. In his greed, he’d betrayed those he loved, and he was headed to prison. Life would never be the same again.
I remember feeling that way. In my addiction and opioid diversion, I knew the potential consequences. To appease my conscience, I had to fool myself. I won’t get caught. After this next bottle of pills, I’ll quit, and no one will ever know. Then, when life came crashing down, it didn’t seem real. This can’t be happening. I’m going to wake up and realize it was a nightmare. But I was wide awake, living the nightmare. I wanted to go back to normal, but normal no longer existed. I’d destroyed it.
I wonder if Jacob felt like this when he had to leave his home. Having robbed Esau of his inheritance and blessing, his brother plotted to kill him. To save Jacob’s life, Rebekah sent him away. Jacob’s life suddenly and radically changed forever. One day, he was living comfortably in the only home he’d ever known and the next, that life was gone. This can’t be happening. I just want things to go back to normal. But there was no going back. Jacob had destroyed relationships in a way that meant he could never go back to normal.
No one sets out to destroy their lives. I didn’t plan on losing my job and putting my marriage and career in jeopardy. I got there, simply by following my will, gradually giving up more and more of myself and what I knew to be right. Then, one day, it all came crashing down. I wanted to go back and undo all those little decisions, but that was impossible. So, now in recovery, I’ve got to learn to live differently. Now, I understand how all those little decisions – good and bad – add up. If I want to destroy my life again, then by all means, I should simply continue living according to my appetite. If, however, I want to build the life God intends for me, then daily, I must point my life at him, even in the little decisions – because those little decisions add up to the sum of our entire lives.