by Tad Lindley
If we were to talk to every kindergartner in every local school and ask them what they want to be when they grow up, we would get responses like, pilot, agent, health aide, mother, fireman, policeman, soldier, video game designer, fisherman, nurse, doctor, teacher, maintenance man, cook, and on and on. Not a single one would say, “I want to live homeless in Bethel and drink my alcohol out of a hairspray bottle.” No girl would say, “I want to start on meth as young as I can and sleep with as many creeps as I can to stay high until I die.” No young boy would say, “A heroin addict. In fact I want to get so hooked that I sell my car, lose my house, and rob my family so bad that they completely shun me!” Not a one would say, “I want to smoke myself psychotic on marijuana and spend my entire adult life in and out of jail and psychiatric institutions.”
Where will they end up?
And yet here it is, 2017, and some of you reading this have walked a path that has taken you to dark and horrible places that you never intended to go. Maybe you at one time wanted to be a social worker and help people, but now you shake so bad in the morning that you have to slurp your liquor out of a soup bowl until your hands are steady enough to hold a cup. Some of you were students in my classroom, you wanted to go to college and be a doctor or a nurse, but now you look older than me, and without shooting up a couple of points in the morning you’re too sick to even get out of bed. Occasionally the fog clears and you ask yourself, “How in the world did I end up like this?” But most of the time you shove the question deep down inside since it is terrifying to admit that it is humanly impossible to escape.
The power of addiction, whether it is nicotine, pornography, or heroin is so great that in most cases it is utterly impossible for us to quit on our own. The good news is that even if it is humanly impossible, with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). The power of God is far greater than the power of addiction. In fact it is far greater than power of any sin, whether it be gambling, stealing, sexual perversion, drunkenness, or worshipping idols. Please read I Corinthians 6:9-11. It plainly teaches us that people steeped in all of those types of sin were completely delivered of them by the power of God. They were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (I Cor. 6:11). They repented of their sins, were baptized in Jesus’ name, and were filled with the Holy Ghost (see Acts 2:38, 8:12-20, 10:44-48), and God brought them deliverance. That same miracle working power still exists today.
Dope dealer becomes a hope dealer
Whether or not you are involved in the drinking and drugging scene, you have family members and friends that are. Often times when the one we love has bounced in and out of jail so many times, lied, stolen and betrayed even more, we begin to get hopeless. We begin to wonder if we should even keep praying for them. The answer is, yes, we should.
Now I am going to ask you to do something I have never asked you to do before. I want you to listen to a testimony off of the internet. If you don’t have internet, you have relatives that do. Bring this newspaper to their house and tell your niece or nephew, “Get off of Facebook and play this Youtube video for me.” If you’re the biggest drug dealer on your side of the village, stop the party at your house and tell your friends and customers, “Strap on your seatbelt, we’re about to have church up in here!” Load up the link and turn up the volume!
Here is the short version: goo.gl/D3akrN
Here is the long version which I highly recommend (start video at 7:30 if you want to skip the singing): goo.gl/qAY6Xm
If that doesn’t get you there, search Nick Mahaney Shares His Testimony – Youth Xplosion 2014.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the Bethel United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.