I love how lessons unfold in our life. Sometimes we go through trials or seasons and they don’t fully make sense until years later. Yesterday, while I was out for a Thanksgiving Day run, I thought about all the blessings in my life. As many of you know, I celebrate ten years of sobriety this month (Nov 27). Besides my husband and my son, this is the biggest blessing in my life.
The process of surrendering my addiction to the Lord was not easy. The Lord was asking me to let go and hand this issue over to Him several months before I actually did. I would pray for God to change my heart and make my desire not to drink stronger than my desire to drink. I even mustered up enough courage a couple of times to attend a local 12 step group. At the first meeting, I asked an elderly gentleman how long he had gone without a drink. His answer was something crazy like 30 years. I remember being astonished by his response. How was that possible? I was struggling with two consecutive days.
So yesterday on my run, I asked the Lord why. Why did it take months before I finally “got it”? I know God could have snapped His Almighty fingers and I could have been healed just like that. But He didn’t. He allowed me to go through that process of failing, getting up again, and failing, and getting up again.
And then, even when I did finally surrender to the Lord, God could have immediately taken away my urge to drink. But He didn’t.
Because, the Lord was teaching me perseverance. The Lord was teaching me that He was the Rock I needed to come back to over and over and over again. You see, every single time I failed in those months, I had a choice to make. Would I run back to Him or would I run away again?
God knew I didn’t have a very consistent track record. I had spent most of my adult life, up until then, being a runner…and I’m not talking about the leisurely Thanksgiving Day type runner. I was a runner who ran away from God when situations seemed hopeless. When my life did not play out the way I thought it should, I chose to run away instead of choosing to rest in the arms of the only One capable of helping me.
Those months of struggle were used to teach me that I needed to respond differently when circumstances and trials crop up in my life. They taught me to not give up on God. They also taught me to keep running back to Him no matter how uncomfortable the discipline might seem at the time. A verse comes to mind as I type this, “God disciplines the ones He loves.”
God’s discipline is never easy and yet, as I look back on my life, God’s response was the most loving thing He could have done for me. Not only was He in the process of disciplining me but He was teaching me the beauty of dependence.
God was also teaching me humility. Once I surrendered the issue to the Lord, the desire to drink didn’t just disappear. I needed the help and support of others who had struggled with addiction. Every day (and sometimes twice a day early in my recovery) I would attend a local 12 step group. I would share my struggle with others and they would share theirs with me. Community is so important, but it is only helpful if we are willing to be vulnerable and are willing to humble ourselves in front of others. God does amazing things with that humility.
I am so thankful, today, that God doesn’t just snap His Almighty fingers and make everything right in my life. Some lessons can only be learned through perseverance and dependence on Him.