I have a good friend named Thomas. Thomas has been in and out of treatment for alcoholism many times over the past 8 or 9 years. About 8 months ago I got a call from him and he was pretty hammered. He had been released from treatment 6 hours earlier and managed to stay sober for about 4 of them. Then, Thomas headed to the bar, took a seat and surrendered to that which still holds power over him.
He started crying when I answered his call and it took me a minute (or less) to put it all together. In a tone of utter shame he said, “Man, I don’t know how or why, but as soon as I take my first sip of that first drink, what happens from there is completely unpredictable.” Thomas cried some more.
My response was, “Thomas, what happens to you after your first sip of the first drink is COMPLETELY PREDICTABLE. What’s unpredictable is what happens if you don’t drink.”
And then I looked inward and pondered how often I crave the familiar over the unfamiliar…the predictable over the unpredictable. It seems that in my own brokenness and unhealth I will cling to my self-centered predictability over what I truly believe is God’s goodness cloaked in his unpredictability.
I love the word forsake. It’s definition is: To give up something formerly held dear. The word implies a trust relationship. I cannot forsake something that is not close to me. So, in complete honesty, I have a trust relationship with my struggles and my ego. I nurture them, feed them, hide them and turn to them when I crave the familiar and predictable. God is calling me to forsake these relationships.
Will you join me in stepping out of my/our patterns of inward unhealth and predictability and into the safety and grace of God’s unpredictable goodness?
By Robert Shryoc