Wasteland Kings

I love stories. One of my favorite things in stories is when something small or subtle solves a big problem. There is nothing quite like the moment I realize something I’ve underestimated or forgotten about saves the day.

I am a big fan of those twists and I got the unique pleasure of experiencing them during my recovery process.

Before I go on, I’ll give a little more context to make sure we’re all on the same page. It’s easy for me to get lost and not be as clear when I talk about both stories and my recovery process. Let’s first rewind a second back to how subtle things in stories save the day.

James Bond movies might make for the best example because they are well known. In many of the films, Bond gets a small gadget in the beginning which creates an important escape later in the story. It tends to be a surprise because we forget about the gadget until Bond pulls it from his pocket.

A couple of the more thrilling twists are found in the movies of The Prestige and The Usual Suspects. Those movies put the object of the twist in front of you instead of hiding it in a pocket. This makes it more exciting, impressive, and surprising when the twist comes.

The plot twists I experienced during my recover process looked much more like the ones in The Prestige and the Usual Suspects. To clarify, I am talking about the Christ-centered 12-step program called Regeneration. This process brings things like addictions and past heart wounds into the light.

This isn’t what I would call fun or easy. It’s much more comfortable to leave those things in the dark. It’s not a relaxing experience to drag them out to the light.

While this isn’t a soothing experience, it’s more than worth it and leads to an impossible kind of peace. We’ll get to that later. For now, we’ve got to get back to the point.

Regen brings sins and wounds into the light and this is when God steps in to start the plot twist. With the help of his people, his Holy Spirit, and the Bible, he pours his love into those problems. When I opened my heart, dragged my sins or wounds into the light, and let in his love, the impossible happened.

I experienced grace for my sins and addictions. I saw the truth of Jesus’ righteousness covering me. I also enjoyed the healing of my wounds.

It’s important to point out my problems didn’t change over night. Some of the steps in the process are not short. I still experienced change which I did not think was possible.

The most surprising part is the change came from facing the sin problems and my wounds. Those are the things which hang on my shoulders everyday. Even if I have become accustomed to them, they drag me down and their presence is constant.

I have assumed for a long time change in circumstances would bring the solution to my sins and wounds. The endeavors of marriage and success seemed like great candidates to make up for the drag of my problems. I assumed they would pull me up enough to counterbalance the weight on my shoulders.

I am so glad God led me into Regen ten months ago instead of marriage or success with my career. Those two things can be great. They would’ve been painful disappointments for me though.

Regardless of the godliness of my wife or the greatness of my success, no circumstance can counter the weight of sin or my heart wounds. I needed Jesus. Experiencing his grace, love, and healing started me down the path of freedom from those weights instead of counterweights.

This was a twist for me because my problems seemed too big to solve. Even after God freed me from porn and codependency, I assumed a change in circumstances was my only hope. God knew better though.

Dealing with sin problems like self-righteousness or need for approval seemed impossible. Digging up the deepest wounds of my heart felt like I was asking for those problems to get worse. Both ventures became vessels for the impossible work of God.

He twisted the story and showed how my greatest fears held the key to the peace I wanted. It took facing those fears and inviting God to walk through those heart issues to get this peace. Regardless of the difficulty, I would do it again a hundred times to get the peace I’ve started to experience.

God has worked through the process to deepen our relationship. My heart knows the Father’s love and has more confidence in my place as his son. I have a greater confidence that he is for me; even when things are hard.

It was the hardest parts of Regen which led to the best experiences of grace, love, and healing.

The darkest parts of my life and the biggest hurts were the widest doors for God to enter and get to work. The battles which caused the most fear became God’s greatest victories. The sins problems and past pains which stood in front of me became the areas of life which taught me the most about God’s love.

I have the deepest gratitude for how God used the dark parts of my life to bring light and love into my heart. I am glad he didn’t just change my circumstances. It’s been an honor to watch him turn broken things into something beautiful.

Do you think it’s possible for the same to happen in your life? Could God take the most broken parts of your life and turn them into a victory worth celebrating? Do you want that to happen?

Image Copyright: Public Domain

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The Life I Want

Matthew Rial

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