He plays to win – the injustice of addiction


Yesterday morning I received an email from a colleague informing me that a mutual client had passed over the weekend. This client was a guy I’ve known since shortly after I started my work with the Salvation Army here in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. Many times in our relationship we spoke of life, the struggles of addiction, and the desire to be free. Through out this mans life addiction cost him dearly. He had lost jobs, money, possessions, dignity, relationship with both friends and family, and ultimately His true identity as God intended it. In the end addiction stole his very life.

Since I received the email, my heart has been sad. I am moved not only by the loss of a friend (troubled as he was), but by the injustice of it all. It’s like the enemy literally had him by the throat, and wouldn’t let go. Many times we talked about God, and I know He found great peace in prayer and in Christian community when he was able to attend local services. He also worked with many of us to get to multiple treatment facilities over the years, but time and again found himself unable to secure freedom. The following scripture takes on new meaning in light of this morning:

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. I Peter 5.8-9

On a daily basis I talk with men and women about their lives, decisions, and direction. We work to find housing, physical and mental medical attention, addictions support, financial means, and the list goes on. Often I realize (and from time to time point out) that the issues facing them are a matter of life or death (both physically and spiritually.) Though I often speak these words of caution, it is always difficult and somewhat shocking when those words are met with reality in someones life.

Writing this, I can’t help but turn these musings around in an introspective way. To realize that in many ways I fight with addiction, temptation, and the presence of the devil in my own life. Time and again I fail to ‘secure freedom’ and too easily forget that the Devil “looks to devour” me. The honesty of it all is that the Devil isn’t taking His agenda lightly. He plays to win, and His methods are the epitome of injustice.
I’m not able to draw a ton of conclusions from all this today, because it’s hard to reconcile moments when God’s kingdom is so clearly ‘now, but not yet’. However, in the tension of it all, I am sure of this: We desperately need a Saviour. Jesus, needs to be our Lord and our salvation. To that end, we must be people of deep prayer. Only in prayer are we able to ‘Stay Alert, Stand Firm, and Be Strong’ in the face of our addictions, temptation, and personal weakness.

I will miss Jeff. He was a very cool guy and I was blessed by His journey more than once. The painful part is I know that He could be free, but we never got to see that. May the God, who was His deepest source of peace and strength, have your undivided attention today. May the freedom that only He can give be yours. (I’m pretty sure Jeff would say a big AMEN to that prayer.)

Chad Block

~ by blueporch on May 19, 2010.

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