I still remember the phone call I received from my sister while on vacation several years ago. She called to inform me that our nephew Heath had embezzled money from the family farm to support his addiction to prescription narcotics. Though many of us were suspicious or even knew there was a problem, we ignored the signs. We did not realize how horrible his addiction had become. Now several years later, if you ask Heath about this day, he will describe it as the best and worst day of his life.
The fall—The moment Heath’s world crashed down as the truth was revealed. Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit there has been sin in the world. You and I are no exception. Though it seemed Heath’s sin was huge at the time, we all fall short of the glory of God.
As the day unfolded Heath was given two options. He could leave the family farm and admit himself to rehab, or he could face criminal charges. With the unbelievable grace shown to him, he wept a sigh of relief. His drug addiction and embezzlement were finally out in the open and he knew he needed help. The opportunity for rehab was now right in front of him.
The rise—The moment grace appeared for his addiction problem and the theft which had occurred. He wanted and he needed help. He chose rehab, or in this case, the grace extended by his family. Before Heath left for rehab, he prayed the most heartfelt, tearful prayer he had ever prayed. He gave his life to Christ on the back deck of his home as he asked forgiveness of his many sins.
Grace appeared for this lost world the moment Christ gave up His life on the cross, defeated Satan, and rose again.
The faith—Confession of sins followed by blind faith. Heath had no idea what was in store for him at the rehab center. No idea of the pain he would experience from withdrawals, or the emotional rollercoaster which was ahead. Yet he walked by faith through those doors and admitted himself to rehab, knowing Christ was with him on his journey. “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1).
We rallied around him with prayers as he walked through the necessary steps of recovery. We knew drug addiction was difficult to overcome, but not impossible. Everyone reacts differently in family situations such as these, so emotions raged in our family for many months. Yet I am a firm believer that time heals, or at least mellows the heart when you allow love to enter.
The hope—There is hope in all situations, and Heath found his hope at the foot of the cross. Though rehab was a necessary part of his recovery, his hope was in Jesus Christ. Christ reached down, and took his hand the day he gave his life to the Lord. Jesus Christ lifted him out of the pit, and set his feet on solid ground. I have seen a strong faith emerge in Heath as he walks with Christ daily and knows his source of strength comes from the Heavenly Father above.
The love—The moment Heath’s faithful wife, Trisha, realized she could love Heath unconditionally, because God loves her unconditionally. She stood by him through this difficult time in their lives. Sometimes going through the motions, and sometimes with a glimpse of the man she married. Her faithfulness to their wedding vows paid off as love emerged and triumphed once again.
Now six years later, Heath and Trisha’s journey has taken them to a new life, in a new state, and a new business. They now have a new battle as Trisha suffers from bi-polar II issues. Trisha and Heath recently knelt on the carpet in their home in Kentucky, and she prayed a heartfelt tearful prayer similar to the words Heath prayed many years ago. She asked for forgiveness, for healing, and for God’s will to be done. God wrapped them in His arms of comfort and gave them peace.
Christ gives all of us faith, hope and love. Through the ups and downs of rehab, and counseling through mental health issues, drug addiction, marital struggles, arguments and disagreements love has always prevailed. Heath continues to stand by Trisha’s side, just as she did for him a few years before. Though this journey has been one of great difficulty, their example of unconditional love gives them a testimony to share with a lost world. A world which struggles with addiction and mental health issues. Their openness to share their faith story is because Christ is love, and without Christ there would be no hope for a hurting world.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13)
Points to Ponder
- The Fall—What situation in your life caused you to fall away from Christ?
- The Rise—Did you come to Christ at that moment and ask for forgiveness? If not, why not today?
- The Faith—Even faith as small as a mustard seed can change your life. (Matthew 17:20). What small seed of faith do you have to overcome the difficulties in your life?
- The Hope—How can you allow God to be your source of hope for each moment?
- The Love—We all express love differently, but Christ’s love for us never changes. Recall a moment in your life when you knew God’s love was real and steadfast. Focus on Christ’s love as you overcome the fall.