Not long ago, I stood in front of 150 or so addicts and told my story. I watched them as they listened, literally with shame on their faces, because they knew the story. My story was their story. It isn’t anything new. Sometimes the church is kind of shocked about some of this stuff, but not this group. While I was sharing, I noticed one girl especially. She could have been anybody’s kid. Beautiful girl. Dressed great. But you could see the shame and the hopelessness on her face as she sat there listening.
But as soon as I started talking about Christ and recovery and how much I’m loved and how faithful He’s been, tears of joy started streaming down her face. She was thinking, “I’ve got to try that! I’ve got to trust that.” She slowly got up from her seat and walked up to the front. I handed her the mic, and sat down. She told us she’d only been doing drugs for three years, and she’d lost everything in that time. She said, “I was out of jail for only two hours before I used again! This is at the threat of going to prison for 20 years. This is at the threat of losing my children for good, of signing over custody. This is at the threat of my mom finally saying ‘I’m done!’ because she’s been hanging in there with me so long. And I go use after two hours!” And she wept. She said, “Now my life is in the hands of the judge.”
I got up and just prayed for her. I asked the pastor to come with me. I just held her while she cried and I said, “You know, we’ve got to go to Psalm 51, because the ultimate judge is God Himself, and He says, ‘I’ll create in you a new heart and change your very desires.’ He is fighting for you, and that’s what you have to hold on to today.” She got it. You could see it on her face and in her eyes. She gave her life, her struggles, and even her drugs to Christ right there, right then.
It was incredible. The ripple went all through those 150 people who were there. When we invited people to raise their hands if they’d had some clean time or to stand up if they wanted to say something, the entire group just responded to the truth of God’s mercy and His grace towards us. Everything changed that night because this girl stood up—honestly stood up—and said, “I had nothing to offer and I’m standing here free today because of Him.”
When she left that night, the shame was gone! There’s hope in that for all of us.
Always remember that God is crazy about you … me too!