The drug problem in America and around the world has truly grown to epidemic proportions. President Trump stated in his State of the Union Address on Jan. 30, 2018, "In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses: 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour." It is rare to meet anyone who doesn't know someone affected by substance abuse.
Many people point in all directions looking for solutions. President Trump stated, "We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge. My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need."
William J. Bennett and Robert L. DuPont suggested in their June 30, 2017 Newsweek article, "But the main unaddressed nature of the opioid crisis is focus and energy on prevention." Robert Charles also suggested in the Washington Times, "The current opiate crisis is traceable, in large measure, to false messages. States are promoting drug abuse — especially of marijuana — with false narratives. They must stop. Narratives suggesting drug abuse is relatively harmless, non-addictive, generally reversible, medically sustainable, or socially acceptable must stop."
Part of the solution no doubt is to get tougher on drug dealers and pushers as well as helping get treatment for those in need as Trump suggests. Prevention too has its place on the table of solutions as suggested. Education is also part of the overall solution to the drug crisis. Still, I believe there is major piece of the puzzle that is missing from the national dialogue on this subject.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless amidst the growing number of lives lost to drug overdose each year but there is hope. Countless people have begun to find freedom as they came to believe that a power greater than themselves could restore their sanity. In a culture with an adversity to the 10 Commandments and where the Name of Jesus is offensive the power of God has been reduced to meaningless, "Christian," platitudes and lifeless cliché sayings fit for greeting cards.
As followers of Christ may we never lose our faith in the power of God to change lives. The same Jesus who made the lame to walk and the blind to see, who caused the deaf to hear and raised the dead to life can bring resurrection power to the lives of those in bondage to addictions and compulsive behaviors. The Apostle Paul offered this word of encouragement to those in the city of Corinth sometime around A.D. 55. "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God," 1 Corinthians 1:8 (ESV). These words ring true in 2018. The message of the cross of Christ, His death and resurrection, the message of hope for a new life through the power of God is to our culture foolishness. Yet to those of us who have tasted His goodness, have experienced His grace and mercy, who have begun to live by His strength, this message has proven to be the very power of almighty God.
The late Charles Colson, former insider of the Nixon White House, turned Evangelical Christian leader and founder of Prison Fellowship International said, "I meet millions who tell me that they feel demoralized by the decay around us. Where is the hope? The hope that each of us have is not in who governs us, or what laws are passed, or what great things that we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people, and that's where our hope is in this country; that's where our hope is in life."
After all of these years our hope remains the same. The Apostle Paul told the Philippians, "For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure," Philippians 2:13 (ESV). The hope that each of us has is in the power of God who works with in us to heal, restore, and to revitalize broken hearts.
Lewis Edgar Jones penned the words to this now famous song in the 1830's, "There is power, power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb." May we never lose our hope in the power of God who still heals the sick and raises the dead. Perhaps then the words of Trump will come to pass, "The struggle will be long and difficult — but, as Americans always do, we will prevail."
Brian H. Fontaine has served for nine years as pastor of Washington Church in Valparaiso Indiana. He also had the opportunity to volunteer at Frontline Foundations, a faith based recovery program in Chesterton Indiana. Brian hosted "Battle Ground," a 30-minute live radio show twice a month as well as, "A Minute in the Word," a daily two minute prerecorded inspirational radio spot on The Calvary Radio Network in Valparaiso Indiana. He currently serves at Westville Correctional Facility in Westville Indiana as an Addiction Recovery Specialist.