On the Brink


He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from Him.   He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.  Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.                                                               Isaiah 53:3

 brink – the edge or margin of a steep place or a land bordering water; verge;  a critical or crucial point

When I was in college I worked during the summers as a tour escort for a travel agency.  My territory included the New England states and Niagara Falls.  I studied much about these regions and then explained this to the tourists.  When Nik Wallenda recently made a historic walk across the Niagara Falls, I watched intently, never dreaming that a place so familiar to me would be the site of such a human feat.  I prayed Nik would make it safely across as the waters rushed around him and beneath him.  As he walked gingerly along the thin wire fastened between the American and Canadian borders, Nick spoke the names God and Jesus over and over again.  He believed the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were with him as he walked.  He did indeed make it safely to the other side.

The use of drugs and alcohol in our culture have become so commonplace that their addictive properties and destructive powers can be dismissed or disguised until one is walking a tightrope to make it from addiction to recovery.  Drugs and alcohol can seem simple social and recreational means for relaxation and socialization.  However, they also have the potential to become strong habits; so strong that they ruin lives, marriages, careers, and hope for the future.  When individuals use drugs and alcohol in excess, he or she—regardless of age, gender, education or financial status—may not realize they are on the brink of developing an addiction and meeting with painful consequences that follow.

Drug and alcohol usage in excess and addictions cause grief.  Reasons for losses that result in grief include drunk driving, homicides, suicides, date rape, job loss, marital strife, divorce, custody battles, academic decline, athletic decline, criminal offenses, and theft.  In addition, there is loss of normal brain function, normal reflex skills, and cognitive ability.  In conjunction with these losses are the emotional ramifications that are deep for the individual as well as for those he or she loves.    When one person losses self-control, others are at risk and loved ones suffer, too.

For those who have suffered physical, mental, emotional and spiritual pains due to drugs and alcohol, these experiences have made a mark.   Whether the pain has been personal or related to watching a loved one self-destruct due to drugs and drinking, it is a sorrowful and difficult process.  Jesus Himself knows what it feels like to be stricken, rejected, in physical pain and emotional turmoil.  He can fully identify with human pain.  His love kept Him on the cross so that He could be the One to shed the blood that would cleanse sin and give a fresh start and new hope to people.  His love keeps Him with each person today.  Whatever poor choices have been made, Jesus is accepting.   Jesus will never reject anyone who calls upon Him in faith. 

To be on the brink of an addiction is to be on the verge of a job loss, a divorce, a car accident.  But the subtlety of alcohol and drug usage can make one think “I can handle it or that would never happen to me, or to my husband, my son.  Wrong.  It can.  It has.  It does.  The culture has normalized alcohol and drug usage through advertisements, sports, and in all kinds of social settings that its dangers are often concealed.  Dangers become glaring when something painful, something tragic, occurs. 

God intends for our time in this world to be rich and full of hope.  He sent Jesus to us to be the reason why our hope can be full and unending.  Using drugs and alcohol to cope with school problems, bullying, breakups with boyfriends or girlfriends, to escape from life’s responsibilities, to cope with the stresses of work and family or to avoid making decisions and taking responsibility for one’s life, is neither beneficial nor honest.  Recognizing that drugs and alcohol are being used for the wrong reasons and getting help is beneficial.  For you.  For those who love you.  There is no shame in reaching out for help.  Making one phone call or sending one email to admit a problem is an act of courage.  That one act to reach out for help could prevent addiction and even save a life.  Maybe yours.

When Nik Wallenda walked across that fine wire to make it to the other side, he continuously said aloud God and Jesus.  They were with him.   Anyone who calls out God and Jesus, is a voice that will be heard.  Whatever fine wire you or someone you love is walking today, God and Jesus are listening with their hearts of love and arms of strength to hold you up and get you to the other side safely, and with new hope.

Holy Spirit, touch those who read this so that Your inspiration for what is needed is given and acted upon.  Help those who suffer the strains of bondage to drugs and alcohol.  Help those who grieve because of what they have witnessed due to the destructive results of these substances.  Thank You, Father God and Lord Jesus for Thy precious presence and open heart to hear and to help those who call to You.  Lord, Your love saves and soothes. Blessed be Your Name forevermore, Amen.