Greater With the Wreckage

In one of my Christian publications, a pastor tells the very moving story of an alcoholic friend who cried out to him for help. His marriage was falling apart; the home was in chaos, his children were scared and anxious, and he was starting to falter at work. 

And all because of the drinking. He was hopelessly addicted; he just could not overcome it. Pastor Miller flew out from his home in Portland, to be with his friend and just offer any help he could. 

"This man was a brilliant human being," he writes, "touched with many gifts from God. But he was addicted to alcohol and he was being taken down in the fight. Afraid that he was becoming suicidal, his wife and I had already arranged for the kids to be sent away for a while."

They met at the friend's home and the two men sat together on the back deck and talked for hours, deep into the night. That night as Miller went back to his hotel room, he was not at all sure that his friend was going to make it. The next morning, Miller flew back to Portland, worrying about him all the way home. 

But the friend had promised to check himself into a recovery group, and he did keep his word. 

Two months later, Miller returned, and the man who met him at the airport this time was almost unrecognizable: peaceful, content, affectionate, and sober—praise God!—sober now for several weeks; hadn't touched a drop. It was a remarkable change. 

On their way back from the airport, the friend told the story of his painful recovery process, and of one incident, in particular, that truly helped him win this battle.  

His father had flown in to attend one of the recovery meetings with him. It was all part of the plan at the rehab—required actually—but it made Miller's friend very uneasy. During that meeting, he would have to confess all his failings and weaknesses to everyone in the group, and his own father would be there, hearing it all! He would be spilling out all the issues that had contributed to his addiction. He was worried about how his father would respond to it all. 

But that morning, just as soon as the friend finished speaking before the group, to his surprise, his father stood up. 

For a long moment, there was silence. His father just stood there, looking over at his son. Finally, he spoke: 

"I have always loved my son. But I have never loved him more than I do at this very moment. I love him more than ever before. And I want every one of you here to know that!"  

The friend told Pastor Miller that, at that moment, for the first time in his life, he was able to believe that God loved him too. Oh, he had heard it before—many times; had heard it all his life!—but now, he believed it! It suddenly occurred to him that the reason his earthly father loved him so much, was because his Heavenly Father loved him even more! 

The experience brought him to Christ who alone gives victory over our terrible addictions. But—oh!—God used that father's love set the process in motion! 

My message this week is for every wandering soul who might have picked up this edition. Listen to me carefully: you are dearly loved! Yes, you; in case you never knew!

There is nothing more powerful in all the world than the discovery of that fact!  It changes everything! It brings new hope! It muffles the voice of guilt. It silences the Accuser! It causes us to open the door that—oh!—so desperately needs to be opened! 

How beautifully our Scriptures repeat this constant theme, over and over again! You are loved dear wandering one! "Behold! How great is the love that the Father has lavished upon us..."  we read. 1 John 3:1  You have an Accuser, dear one, who "accuses them before our God, night and day," we read in Revelation 12. His prosecution is always the same: "Your sins condemn you! God is against you. He must despise you; oppose you; and He will make you pay."  

But—oh!—what our precious Scriptures say instead! That "Accuser" has been"thrown down", we read! Rev 12: 10  And the only Son of God has "paid", so you will never have to! 

He loves you, dear one, "with an everlasting love". Jer 31:3 

And reckon with this precious thought for a moment: His love for you does not lessen with the wreckage and the ruin you are in! No! "He is close to the brokenhearted,"  we read; "He saves the crushed in spirit."   34:18

In fact, just like our friend's father at the rehab, your Heavenly Father's love for you just grows 'greater' with the wreckage! The pain and the hurt and the ruin become the backdrop for the greatest demonstration yet of His great love for you! 

"For God demonstrates His love for us in this: that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!" Rom 5:8 

How good to worship with you every week. 

See you Sunday!                           RAS

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