The message this past Thursday at Recovery at Dayton dealt with the avalanches in our life and what we do when things start to cave in all around us. It’s a powerful message by Mark Beebe and you can watch the whole thing HERE.
One of the main questions each one of us has to wrestle with – and this is true of everyone of us, addict or not – when life throws us a curve is this:
Who gets the glory?
Who gets the glory when an avalanche happens all around you? Check out this story from Acts where two followers of Jesus get into a pretty big avalanche. Look and see how they answer the question, “Who gets the glory?”
22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!
Can you believe that? After being beaten and thrown into a dungeon, Paul and Silas gave glory to God. Their avalanche didn’t steal God’s glory.
This has been one of the hardest things for me to learn and even harder to practice. It’s so difficult in the midst of a storm to praise God. I’m reminded of Job’s words after he lost everything – his family, his land, his home, his livestock – Job declared, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). That is to say, even if this event and calamity is caused by God Himself, I trust that He is good and I will put my hope in Him and give Him glory alone. That’s faith! God, give me faith like this!
Because here’s the deal. Someone or something is always going to get the glory. In the midst of an avalanche, either:
- you are going to get the glory because you will yourself to grit your teeth and get yourself through the mess,
- your circumstances will get the glory because they will be all you or anyone else ever gets to hear about,
- your addiction will get the glory because you’ll run to whatever compulsion it is that you think makes you feel safe,
- or God will get the glory, and you’ll be like Paul and Silas singing praises to Him, trusting that God will bring you through this mess and certainly will not forsake you in the midst of it.
This is a hard lesson to learn and harder to practice. It’s much easier, and far more recognizable, to give myself, my circumstances or my addiction the glory. It’s so much easier to blame everyone and everything and to retreat into isolation and indulge in my drug of choice, whether that be porn, a pill, a drink, food or another person or whatever. It’s downright unnatural and weird to sing praises to God while life is crashing around me. But that, and perhaps that alone, is the difference between a defeated life and a victorious one. The difference between an addicted life or a sober one. The difference between a broken life or a holy one.
I’ve discovered, and Mark shares this in his video message linked above, that the following wisdom found in A.A (Alcoholics Anonymous) helps me tremendously:
One day at a time.
When a disaster happens with my kids or a meltdown occurs between my wife and I or something at work just doesn’t go like I expected or I get that phone call from a family member that someone is sick, or I wake up to find I’ve been hacked and my bank account is empty, I can handle giving God glory for the next 30 minutes. I can do one day at a time.
It’s when I begin thinking I’ll have to do this all week, or all month, or for the rest of my life that I get paralyzed and feel this is impossible. But I can do one day at a time. I can focus today on giving God glory no matter what happens today. I can trust that He will be with me today. All day. And tomorrow, by God’s grace, I can wake up and do it again.
When Paul, the same guy who gave glory to God from a prison, had a “thorn in his flesh,” a constant avalanche about him, he prayed that it be removed but heard these words from Jesus: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:8-10). One day at a time.
Who gets the glory in your life? I pray that when the avalanche comes (and it will come!) you would run to the strong, loving arms of Jesus who has everything you need for today. His power works best when you come to him in need. One day at a time.