David has been using since he was eleven. Different substances, same result. Now forty years old, he's still battling unseen demons, replaying the brutality of his lost childhood, waiting for a day when the pain will stop.
The goal is the same every day: self-medicate into a fog of numbness. Often, the beer and liquor don't deliver the results he's looking for. Feelings begin to percolate in the corners of his heart and mind, and that's unchartered territory – something he's not equipped for.
Some nights the alcohol magnifies the vast pit of emptiness he feels at the center of his being and he can't bear the intensity. Like a broken record, he replays in his mind's eye the scenes of his mother leaving, father abusing, dishes breaking, everyone screaming.
So he gets on the phone and begins calling family members, one after the other. He throws accusations and spews hateful, blameful words about events long past. For most of his family, the wounds of yesterday healed years ago; for David, childhood memories are still open sores.
There are people around David who offer prayers on his behalf. They pray for him, about him, that God will intercede and bring recovery and healing in his life. Prayer works, but I wonder how many times we pray for someone and expect another person – any person – to carry out God's good work.
It's the often unintentional, "Anyone but me!" prayer.
Every prayer you offer for another person should be coupled with, "I'm available for your work, God. Send me!" Ask God to reveal to you how you can be used to answer your prayers for that person.
Thoughts without actions are not impactful, just as we are told in James 2:20. "But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?"
You probably know someone who needs the love and salvation of Jesus, but if all you do is say, "My thoughts and prayers are with you," and you're unwilling to introduce that person to Christ, then you are missing out on an opportunity for both you and him.
Called to Love the Unlovable
Maybe there are people in your life wasting away right before your eyes. It might not be as obvious as in the case of David, but you know their life is headed in the wrong direction.
Do not assume your attempts to share God's love will be rejected. And even if your attempts are rejected and discouraged, remind yourself that everyone needs to be uplifted and encouraged and your priority is to obey God. Pray about a sacrifice of your time and energy for people in your life who are lost.
As Christians we are called to love the unlovable in the eyes of the world. Maybe He has shown you something in them that they cannot see. Be a source of encouragement and service. In your own way, express that God has not forgotten about them, that He loves them.
We are all spiritual beings made in the image of Christ and we all put our faith in something. Whether it's material gain or mind altering substances or Jesus, we all believe in and seek after something.
As Christians, we must share that worldly pursuits will not sustain and fulfill anyone. It is only through a relationship with Christ that we will know our true purpose.