How do you go from being a devoted father of five and a successful Silicon Valley executive, into a 51-year-old man convulsing from a fatal dose of heroin on your 50-foot yacht, with a prostitute walking over your dying body to take a final sip of wine before leaving you to die?
How can such a tragedy take place?
- (By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
Forrest Hayes was a family man who loved his five children. In fact, he spent plenty of happy times with them out on the water. But on this day, the most important people in Forrest's life were not invited. It was a different type of get-together. You know, the kind human beings are capable of indulging in if left to our own whims and desires.
Forrest had every reason to live, and no reason to die. Nevertheless, there he was on his yacht thrashing in convulsions next to a woman who cared nothing about him. A horrible end to what could have evolved into several more decades with children and grandchildren throughout his fifties, sixties, seventies, and beyond.
No one should die the way Forrest died. And yet sadly, it happens all too often. Less than six months ago, the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman overdosed in his New York City apartment with 70 bags of heroin nearby. In a Twitter post after the overdose, actor Jim Carrey described Hoffman as a "beautiful soul."
We are all prone to destroy our lives and our families. We battle temptation and addictions, and unless the Lord delivers us, we are more than capable of ending up where Forrest and Philip ended up. Such is the nature of desire, free will, addiction, and consequences.
Tragedies happen everyday, and many of them are preventable. Your present circumstances may not look all that great to you, but the question is this: "Will you finish strong?" Will you cross the finish line one day with Jesus by your side? Or will you go off on your own tangent to an early death?
Do you have others who assist you in your areas of weakness? Are you open to the idea of receiving God's strength by being part of a grace-filled congregation of believers who love the Lord and love His Word? You would be amazed at what a fellowship of believers can do for your soul.
Life is tough, especially when we ignore the warning signs and charge ahead feeding our addiction, or persisting in our unbelief. There is nothing worse than unbelief. It prevents your soul from receiving God's living water. And that is the one substance you and I desperately need to receive everyday in fresh encounters with the living God.
Why would a committed father seek fulfillment in heroin and a prostitute? Especially when his children would have loved to spend that day with him out on the boat enjoying one another. And yet, that is the power of sin. It makes us crave those things that destroy our life and our relationships. And it often requires that we feed that craving privately, secretly, and away from those who love us the most.
The Lord knows your struggle today, and He wants to help you say "no" to anything that will destroy you. He also wants to fulfill the deepest desires of your soul, and the deepest longings of your family. They need you. They need your clear-minded and loving leadership. Who will lead them if you get sidetracked by a deadly addiction or detour? It won't give you what you and your family need. It will ultimately destroy you, and it will leave your family with much lingering pain.
And then your tangent will simply step over your body and leave you to die, as it moves on to its next victim.
Meanwhile, your family will be left to fend for themselves without your protection or your wisdom. Is that what you want for yourself and your children? Or will you learn from Forrest Hayes and Philip Seymour Hoffman that man doesn't have to go out that way? He really doesn't. Are the warning signals even registering right now, or are you too lost in the moment of your secret pursuit?
Men kill themselves in a variety of ways, but there is only one way to experience life as God intends. It calls for a person to repent of sin and believe in Jesus. Once you trust Christ as your Savior, you have a friend who will help you in every situation, including those incredibly difficult temptations which tug so strongly at your heart.
Forrest and Philip would give anything to come back home and be with their children. But they can't come back. It's too late. Both of them are now in one of two places. And they are very conscious of their surroundings. On top of that, neither of them will ever leave their eternal place of residence. If only they had known how close they were to ending their life. They would likely have run from those drugs right into the arms of their children, and perhaps even into the arms of the Lord.
What about you? Are you living each day as though Jesus died yesterday, arose today, and is coming back tomorrow? Or are you preoccupied with sinful habits which have stripped you of any love for God, as well as your love for your family? That's what sin does to us my friend. It robs us and also those we love. And you really can reach a point of no return. If you don't believe that, just look at the heartbreaking examples of Forrest and Philip.
And if that's not enough to get you to evaluate your current priorities, I am afraid you could be heading toward a shocking end. It happens everyday to people who never saw it coming.
Will you ask Jesus to rescue you from anything that is contrary to God's will for your life? I don't know of any other solution for you, and for the future needs of your family. I really don't.
Why not speak to God right now with these words:
"Lord Jesus. Deliver me from temptation, and from myself. Deliver me from Satan's schemes, and from my own addictions. Forgive my sins, and fill me with the Holy Spirit. Live in me Jesus and love my family through me. Empower me Lord to make wise decisions and to reject anything which is a counterfeit. And grant strength and hope to the families of Forrest Hayes and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."