When one walks into the rooms of recovery for the first time rather it is for alcohol, drugs, pornography, codependency or any other addiction, we often come to a place in our life where we can no longer see the light. We have lost all hope in our self and humanity. Many are very near losing or have lost their families. Many are at a place of financial ruin and see no hope of regaining financial stability again. Some have hit a soft bottom, and some have absolutely hit a rock bottom. However, we all have come to a point of desperation. They feel their life is ruined and there is no way they will be forgiven by anyone they have hurt, let alone God. How can my life ever be of any use to anyone again?
Everything belongs; God uses everything. There are no dead-ends. There is no wasted energy. Everything is recycled. Sin history and salvation are two sides of one coin. What does all this mean? I am sure it can be both confusing and/or pure nonsense. It is all very clear to me today what Richard Rohr is saying, although at one point I would have thought it all nonsense. I came to believe that God is either everything or he is nothing. To me he is everything, and that nothing, absolutely nothing happens in Gods world by accident. I fought this for a period of time because I couldn’t believe that a God that was supposed be loving and kind could take my father from me when I was twelve-years old. I couldn’t believe that same God would then put a man in my life to take my fathers place who would emotionally, physically, spiritually and sexually abuse me in some of the most crucial learning years of my life. Instead, I thought if God existed, he wanted nothing to do with me. I’ve never been so wrong. Remember, nothing, absolutely nothing happens in Gods world by accident.
My day of awakening came on a Sunday afternoon in San Diego while attending The Rock Church. I was in the bookstore when I picked up a book and on the inside cover page, I read this scripture; “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20). Suddenly it all became very clear to me. Before I go any further let me be very clear, God did not abuse me. However, he allowed it to happen just as he allowed Joseph, King David, Job, and most importantly Jesus to endure pain suffering, and abuse. It was all for the good of God in the end. You see, everything truly does belong. God uses everything to glorify his name if we let him. I look at everything that happens in my life as a lesson. A lesson that I can glean on to help others. If I had not gone through all that I had in my life; the abuse, addictions, divorce, affairs, building a business, losing a business and so much more, I would not be able to help those God has called me to help today. There is a saying in the big book of AA – You cannot transmit something you do not have,” In other words, if you have not experienced both the suffering and the healing, you have no business trying to help others recover what has been lost. In fact, I have seen more damage done than good to others by well-intentioned people, most of whom have been educated academically with no real-life experience or those that are sober yet have no recovery.
I use the word recover(y) because there is a big difference between sobriety and recovery. Sobriety is when we simply quit drinking or using our drug of choice. Recovery is the act or process of returning to a normal state after a period of difficulty; the return of something that has been lost, stolen, etc. Things that are lost refer more to our integrity, self-esteem, self-worth, moral values, spirituality, all things soul related. So then how do we recover these things? By doing a fearless and moral inventory of ourselves. By going on a deep and rigorously honest soul-searching journey of our soul. Unfortunately, most people do a fearless and moral inventory and a rigorously honest self-searching journey of themselves staying more focused on their self rather than their soul. I would ask you, are you on a self-seeking path or a soul-searching journey?
So yes, everything belongs; God uses everything. There are no dead-ends. There is no wasted energy. Everything is recycled. Sin history and salvation are two sides of one coin. If we look at everything that has happened to us and everything we have gone through as a lesson, then yes this is all very true. We can realize that no matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. However, we must remember that our sin history and salvation are two sides of one coin. You can’t have one without the other. In order to truly help others, it helps if we have walked in their shoes, then and only then can we truly understand their sin side and have empathy. To truly help someone however, we must have done your own deep soul-searching healing work, for this is where one truly finds true recovery.