By Brandon Sutton
It’s almost been one year since we started Recovery and Redemption—TJC’s gospel centered recovery ministry—and it’s been incredible to see God at work. He has saved sinners, restored hope, sustained men and women through suffering, maintained individual’s sobriety and achieved thousands of other things we won’t know this side of eternity. I love this ministry.
But we have also experienced a lot of heartache. Addiction ministry is hard. We lose people back to the world every week. Addicts are called to follow Jesus and offered the hope of eternal of life, only to retreat back into the darkness and give into the temptations of their flesh. Many come back, but some won’t.
This year we lost two of our ministry friends to addiction—Jeff and Tanya. Both overdosed and died. Jeff and Tanya were active in the ministry. They were striving to follow Christ. They were doing their best to stay sober. But, unfortunately, they turned back to the darkness of addiction. As a result, they lost their lives.
I wanted to take a moment to remember Jeff and Tanya. Their lives matter, and they shouldn’t be remembered for their worst moment. I know I wouldn’t want that. I want to be remembered for being a family man, a Christian and a pastor. I don’t want people thinking about my poor choices after I am gone. I don’t want to be defined by my sinful decisions. I am sure Jeff and Tanya wouldn’t either.
Jeff and Tanya were image bearers of the living God. That alone gave their lives value, dignity and worth. They had families and people who loved them. They were doing everything they could to better their lives and live for the Lord. But sin got the better of them.
This is why we preach the message of the gospel at Recovery and Redemption. Every week we’re faced with souls on the brink of eternity. They need Jesus. They need eternal life, and we have that message. May God never allow another death because of overdose. But if He does, may we never stop preaching Christ crucified. He is our only hope in life and death.