You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself. Ex 19:4.
I was seeing him for a liver cancer he developed from years of hepatitis C. Ever since his military days he had abused drugs, leading to his chronic infection. A wooden cross hung from his neck, lying crooked against his faded sweatshirt.
“Are you still using intravenous drugs?”
“I’ve been clean for 3 years,” he said. “I found Christ and just stopped
This is not a commentary about the best way to break free from drugs; it’s a commentary about the power of the Cross. The same Cross that delivered me from a self-centered-life-headed-nowhere has the power to deliver from drugs and from greed, pride, cancer, pornography and wasted lives of all description. I’ve personally known individuals trapped in each whom God has delivered through a relationship born at the Cross; which leads to two questions.
What about me? What has wrapped its chains about me such that I cannot free myself to live the life to which God has called me? Beautiful chains like self-fulfillment, financial security and relational love can weigh us down just as effectively as the ugliness of this man’s past drug addiction.
What about that one I love? My child; or spouse, or friend or patient, wrapped in self-fashioned chains now sinking them into waters of despair or emptiness?
While we are taking advantage of every social system and drawing upon all the encouragement or will power we can muster, we need also to face the central problem in destructive behavior. The central problem in destructive behavior is an unsatisfied hunger, or an emptiness we cannot fill. Only Christ can satisfy that hunger or fill that emptiness. Social systems can sometimes break the chains, and we should use them to do so; but chains broken still leave us with the same emptiness that needs filling.
As C. S. Lewis put it, “God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself…God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”1
The Cross’s power to deliver comes when God’s presence fills our emptiness, satisfies our hunger, fuels our engine and transforms us from orphans begging for crumbs, into children feasting at the table.
Deliver me into your perfect plan for my life. Deliver those I love. Let Jesus fill the void.
In Christ alone,
1. C.S. Lewis. Mere Christianity. Harper San Francisco. 2001. P 50.