“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
America is in a terrible crisis, an epidemic of unparalleled proportions.
Daily we read from either newspapers or social media of the influence of opioids upon our society. It is maddening to acknowledge how many lives have been affected. The number of deaths by overdose is staggering to the mind.
I can’t begin to fathom what it is to lose a child or parent to this terrible addiction. However, I do know what it is to be affected and suffer the horrible consequences. Dear brothers and sisters in the faith, what do we do, where do we go from here? How do we help the addict who is still suffering? How do we remove that driving obsession? Where do we as a church make a stand? Do we send them to AA or NA and just hope for the best? I think it’s safe to say we all have far more questions than we do answers.
I’m not sure there is any greater fear than to be caught up in something that seems impossible to escape. It’s no longer a drug isolated to young people. Adults, churchgoers, worship leaders and people from all walks of life are affected — the housewife, the cashier, the factory worker, the list is endless. When I look into the scripture as I have so many times, I’m never disappointed. Revelation chapter 18 verse 23 mentions the word, “Sorcery.” When I break that word down from the original N.T. Greek translation, I find it to mean, “Pharmekiea: where we derived our English word Pharmacy or Pharmaceutical denoting the use of medicine, drugs or spells.”
It is also used for magic, sorcery, and enchantment. From this definition we can see we are not just dealing with the physical aspect of an individual. We are dealing in spiritual warfare that can only be won with spiritual weapons. Following closely with this definition it is not hard to understand why the grip of addiction seems to be unbreakable. It’s as if a binding spell is cast over the user making him or her think everything is OK. The closet user who remains highly functional is at as great of a risk as those who eat 25 pills every morning. The only difference is their body is becoming toxic at a slower pace.
Addiction was not placed on earth for our pleasure, it is placed here for our destruction. There is but one answer to this malady, His Name is Jesus! The problem is spiritual; therefore, the answer must be spiritual. The government has stepped up. Its restrictions, laws and monitoring of doctors have made a huge difference. Now it is time for the churches to step up, to provide Christ-centered detox programs with strenuous follow up efforts. We have sung to the choir too long. It is time we step up to the plate and say, “Here am I Lord, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)
We never know when the mind of a clean addict will for no apparent reason decide to use again. It’s as if a spell comes over them and drives them to repeat the insanity all over again even after days, weeks, months and sometimes years clean. Although many call addicts, “Drug abusers,” I think we lack a vital piece of knowledge — the drug is doing the abusing. It is driving them far more than they want to admit. The drugs are abusing the addict.
One pill, one drink, one shot or whatever it may be is never going to be enough. Neither will 10,000 more. At the end of 10,000 you will always want one more. That will never change. If we can convince the addict, through scripture and plain reasoning of their dead-end situation only then can we begin the work of redirecting the affections of the heart. I have seen many recover; I have seen many die. None of those who died intended to. They just wanted to live another day, just like you and I.
Our daily prayer as a church should be, “Heavenly Father, you know the seemingly inescapable madness people are dealing with today. O’God that you would stretch forth your hands of compassion, show them, Lord, you’re not mad at them; you want to help, heal and deliver. Lord, bring back our sons, daughters and parents, free them from this spell of addiction. Extend your hand of compassion and let them in their hour of crisis see the beauty of the Lord. Let them understand You love them; you are not here to condemn, but to save, in Jesus Name.
“Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:19-21)