Matt over at EmbracingPowerlessness.com wrote another great blog post that got the squeaky hamster wheel in my head turning. He shares some hard truths about why we addicts don’t want to get sober. He employs an insightful analogy about the lust train of addiction and the stoic addict who vainly tries to stop it head-on. The Lord has taught me some beautiful principles as I’ve pondered Matt’s words and testimony, and I’d like to share some of them with you.
“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times” (Mark Twain).
My sponsor taught me that as an addict I can stop any time I want. I just can’t stop myself from starting again.
As an addict, I don’t have the ability to stop my lust train once it’s moving. I can’t even control what ignites, i.e. triggers, my lust train’s engine.
So, if I can’t stop my lust train once it’s moving, does that mean that God can stop it? I believe He could, but He doesn’t.
Instead, in a way I do not yet understand, He does something infinitely better. He stands by the tracks next to me and calls for me to ask Him to save me. When I do, He gives me a simple set of instructions which He calls the gospel of Jesus Christ. For me, an addict, they’re also called the 12 Steps to Recovery.
They aren’t unique to me; in fact, they meet every person’s needs. When I follow them His way and not according to my own interpretation, I find myself taking steps off the tracks. Of course, I begin to feel relief! Fear and terror leave my heart as I watch my feet leave the train tracks and step onto the grass.
When I look up, however, I’m startled by what I see. I’m standing safely in the grass, but now He’s standing on the tracks in my place. He faces my train head on for me.
He doesn’t tackle the train and crush it like the Hulk, or dodge it in the nick of time with the speed of Flash Gordon. No, He lets my train hit Him. He lets it bruise Him and break Him. He even lets it kill Him. He suffers the pain, wreckage, and grief of the lust train I created.
While this is happening, I find myself crying for gratitude and remorse. I also find myself amazed by His sacrifice for me. I discover that He suffered for me because He loves me, because His Father in Heaven asked Him to do it so that I wouldn’t be hit and lost forever. I am worth that much to my God. That’s how much He loves me. It’s more than I can comprehend.
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows… he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (The Holy Bible, Old Testament, Isaiah 53).
By the power of God, my Savior rose from the grave after giving His life for me. He lives! If He didn’t live, if He didn’t come back from death and hell, then how is it that I am coming back from spiritual death and hell? How is it that I am being saved by a power that is not my own? I am being saved. I am being recovered. I am healing, and so is my family. He must live because my family and I have life again. That’s how I know He’s real and alive. That’s how I know His gospel and the 12 Steps to Recovery are true—because they’re working!
I can’t. God can. I’ll let Him. (ARP Manual)