My Dad the Drug Addict; My Heavenly Father My Savior - October 11, 1994
What I'm about to tell you has taken me over ten years to be able to write about. I write this with no glee and no gladness. Those of you who know me to be easy-going may find this out-of-character for me. But if you have ever dealt with pain by pretending to have it all together, then you may just identify a little bit. The pretending's got to be over now. Can I share this with you?
When I was a kid. When I was 8 - 13, my father was addicted to cocaine. He wasn't the stereotypical drug addict, but given the chance, he probably would have sold me to shove that crap up his nose just one more time.
I look at home movies of my dad; the reel to reel kind. This was before VHS. This was before the nineties. This was before his habit. He was so young. He was thin and handsome and vibrant. The movies are of him playing softball with the neighborhood dads. They're of the family apple picking in the fall, and skiing in the winter. I can vaguely remember my dad being that young. It's so hard.
My parents split up later. It was bound to happen. My dad owned his own business, so if he didn't go to work, he didn't make any money. When he was on cocaine, there were times he didn't work for days. I can remember my dad always being what my mom would call "sick today." I know now what it really was. He was on a crash.
He didn't die. He got off of it after years and has been off for years. That's the good news. The bad news of course is that I grew up having absolutely no idea what a father is supposed to be. I can't remember how many times my dad would break his promises because he was "sick today." It seemed like such a typical happening. When I was growing up, I would have given anything for a dad who did not be "sick today." I would have given it all for my dad to keep the promises he made to me. But the more I talk to people, the more I realize how typical my situation is. No, not everyone's dad was a drug addict, but many people know what it's like to be let down by the ones who are supposed to be there for you. If you have had a parent let you down, or a boyfriend, or a girlfriend, or anyone, then you know what I am talking about. If you have ever pretended to have it all together when you're undone inside, then you know what I'm talking about. The pretending's got to be over now.
I discovered something. I discovered that I needed a father. I discovered that we all need a father who always keeps his promises, who's there every time, and who loves us totally. And I discovered that there really is a Father like this, and the only true one is the Father in heaven. I also learned that I am far from good enough to earn a relationship with the Father in heaven. But then I learned that Jesus Christ died so that I could have that relationship. Sound crazy? Perhaps, but it's the truth. Let's hear a bit from what God has told us. Talking about Jesus, the apostle John writes, "to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).
Check out the language the Bible uses. It says that the Father in heaven "chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted sons through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:4,5). Now there's a lot there in that little verse. First thing, "sons" does not mean that only men can have God as their father. Not at all. The reason the male gender is used is because in first century Rome, where this all took place, only sons were qualified in the inheritance of their father.
So if we have Christ, whether male or female, we qualify for the inheritance of God, this being life forever with God. And we are "adopted." This is an important word because in Roman adoption, the child loses every tie to his old family and is equal in status to even biological children of the new family. So it is with us in the family of God. In Christ, every ties to our old ways that keep us from God are completely severed. And only in Christ are we seen by God as "holy and blameless." This is given freely to everyone who believes in God's Son, and believes that he rose from the dead (Romans 10:9).
So that's what I'm excited to tell you. I'm excited to share my Father with you. Can you see him like I do? Can you feel him put his strong arms around you? I couldn't trust anyone after growing up the way I did, but what I want to tell you is that you can trust Jesus to bring you to the Father. Because if you trust Jesus, he will introduce you to your Father when you die.
I really meant it when I said that I have a difficult time talking about my dad's drug problems. If you know me, then you probably didn't know about my dad, and I'm sorry if I shocked you. And if you know me, you may not have known about the relationship I have with my Father in heaven, and I'm sorry if I shocked you. But God is waiting to shock you. He's waiting to come into your life and pick you up and make you holy and blameless. The time for pretending absolutely has to be over now. The only thing that matters in this whole world is when it's all over, Jesus is there to put his arm around you, and say, "I'd like you to meet my Father. Now He is your Father too."