Romans 8:11 and Ephesians 1:19-20 tells us the same power that raised Jesus from death will also give new life to us.
A couple of months into the initial ‘lock down’ of 2020, a man walked into our church on a midweek afternoon. “D” looked the part of a rugged musician dressed in a leather jacket, black jeans, hair in a short ponytail, and he asked if there was someone he could talk to. The shutdown cost him his job and he had been walking in the neighborhood and felt drawn to the church. I sat with him at the back of our dim cavernous sanctuary as he shared some of the challenges he was facing and his desire to rekindle the faith he once had. He accepted my invitation to pray together and took my referral to a counselor. Over the next year, he would occasionally email and update me on his progress or request prayer for a family member.
Recently he dropped me a note to inform me he moved east to care for his ailing mother and was in the middle of an application for a job with Teen Challenge, a Christian foundation aiding youth with addiction. On the application form was a section that asked him to describe how the Gospel of Jesus Christ might impact addiction rehabilitation using 250 words or less. This was his response (shared with permission):
Jesus’ journey represents overcoming adversity through belief in one’s self and connecting with God. From my perspective, addiction of any kind is a manifestation of self-oppression. His resurrection is the ultimate symbol of the spirit overcoming oppression. Through his teachings, we can find admirable models for patience, perseverance and unity through inclusion. One factor that fuels addiction is a feeling of isolation. Through faith, one can learn that we are never alone. All one needs to do is open their hearts and minds to establish a connection with the Lord. Through this connection, one can learn to bolster self-esteem and confidence thereby overcoming any obstacle.
You never know how the Spirit may use your listening ear, your patient compassion or gentle encouragement to help direct someone’s path to healing. May we embrace every opportunity to offer the hope and renewing power found through the love of Jesus. I have not seen the empty tomb in Jerusalem but I have witnessed resurrection power.