by: Staci Stallings
The last couple of weeks have been interesting and illuminating although I can’t put my finger on exactly why. It’s just that one message seems to be coming through with great clarity though again, I can’t tell you just why.
It started with a conversation I had with a friend of mine about the bad things that happen in the world. She was questioning how a loving God could do the things that happen. How can a loving God allow people to die in tornadoes? How can a loving God let people die of cancer? How can a loving God not step in and make everything better?
Well, first off, we choose the world we live in. Yes, there are many things out of our control, but our reaction to them is under our control. And too often we CHOOSE the reaction that takes us further from God rather than the one that brings us closer to Him.
Like when danger strikes.
Do we immediately go to God with that, ask for His protection and guidance? Or do we blame Him and ask, “Why me?”
Or take the case of disease. When disease strikes, do we become bitter and angry, or do we use that as a reason to cling to the God Who is on this sideand the other side?
Shortly after this discussion, I read a book called, “Left to Tell” by Imaculee, survivor of the Rwandan Holocaust. I don’t know if you remember this, but in 1994, there was a genocide in Rwanda. The Hutu tribe went on a killing spree trying to wipe out the Tutsi tribe. Imaculee was of the Tutsi tribe. When the genocide began, she was sent to the house of a Hutu pastor who hid her and 5 other women in a tiny 3′ X 4′ bathroom at the back of his house for 3 months.
The story is amazing, but the thing that comes through the most is how desperately Imaculee clung to Jesus. When she did not, the demon voices would whisper to her that she was never going to survive, that it was hopeless, that God did not love her. After all, if He loved her so much, why was she in a tiny prison being stalked by killers? Why was her family probably dead? No her life was meaningless and she would die just like the rest.
It was only in clinging to God and what He would tell her as she prayed that she was able to keep the demons at bay.
To me, as I read the book, the message God has been showing me grew ever brighter. The point of this life is to come to the conclusion that I need Jesus.
Really. It’s that simple.
While I was reading that story, I drove in to get my kids from school, and I heard a song on my iPod that I have loved for a long time. It’s called, “Wine Into Water.” The premise is that the guy is an alcoholic. He has literally drunk himself almost to the point of oblivion. He is at the bottom of everything, and finally he comes to the conclusion that he cannot beat this thing on his own. He’s tried everything, and it hasn’t worked.
As I listened to the song, I began to cry. Why? Because I got the heart message. It wasn’t about taking away the alcoholism. It was about this man finally realizing, “I need Jesus.”
I know a little about Alcoholics Anonymous, and one of the things I know about it is the basis is the 12-Step program. Here is a version based on the AA 12-Steps from http://www.12step.org/
- Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
- Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
- Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
- Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
- Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
- Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
- Step 7 – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
- Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
- Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
- Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
- Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out
- Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs
I am beginning to recognize the power of these steps, not just for alcohol but for finding peace and learning to live a life based on God’s strength not on our own. So for the next 12 days here, we are going to go through these steps one at a time so that you can see the power of the simple prayer, “I need Jesus.”
For now, feel free to explore the 12step site and see what insights you can glean. Until next time, “Live in the Light!”