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Lost, Desperate, and Alone

Lost, Desperate, and Alone

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. Exodus 13:21

I’ve often said that my drug addiction hasn’t been my greatest life problem. That was just a symptom of my greatest life problem, which is that I simply do whatever I want. I’ve claimed faith – that I follow God – but in practice, I’ve followed myself. This led to my most obvious disaster – a drug addiction and all its terrible consequences. I’m not thankful for the pain I caused others in my addiction, but it was only in that disaster that I began to truly learn faith and obedience. It was only when I had nothing left – when I was lost, desperate, and alone – that I became willing to follow God’s will instead of my own. When life was going well and I had no need to be saved from myself, I lived the lie of self-sufficiency. It was only when my self-reliance was revealed to be a painful delusion, that I became reliant on God.

Lost, Desperate, and Alone. I’ve got to wonder if the Israelites felt like this as they exited Egypt. I’m sure they were excited to be set free from Egyptian slavery, but where would they go? It’s not like they had another home. They’d been in Egypt for centuries. The Egyptians were behind them, and the Philistines were in front of them. They had to feel surrounded by enemies, lost in the wilderness, with the promised land a long way off. It was in this place, where they had nothing and no idea where to go, that God appeared to them as a pillar of cloud and fire. Desperate for direction, they followed this pillar, going exactly where God wanted.

God uses my need. When life is easy and I have no need, I’m prone to live as I want. It is often only in my desperation that I turn to God. So, God uses my need to teach me faith and obedience. The challenge today, after nearly a decade of sobriety, is that I get lazy, returning to the lie of self-sufficiency. I’m good now. Sure, I needed God back then, but now I’m fine. My way though, is disaster. God’s way is life. If I don’t want to return to the calamity of my way, then I must daily remember where my way has led me. If I enjoy my new life of faith and recovery, then daily I must choose to follow God, even when I don’t feel lost, desperate, and alone.

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