By Brandon Sutton
I was excited for the night to begin. The band was warming up, my sermon was ready, and the tech team was arranging all the elements for the service. It was going to be a fun night at Recovery and Redemption. Then people started coming in the front door, and I saw their brokenness once again.
I have been serving in recovery ministries for the better part of 15 years, but for some reason, I was struck on this occasion with a sense of helplessness. When I hear and see the problems our people are facing, I am burdened with a sense of powerlessness to help them. I can’t heal their hurt, pain, and suffering. I can’t take away their temptations and addictions. I can’t fix their past.
Every week we’re faced with women who were once prostitutes and are still dealing with the trauma meted out by their pimps. We serve mothers children overdosed and died. There are parents who lost their children to the state because of their addiction. Addicts come in trembling and sick because of withdraw. Others are contemplating suicide. Some are considering going back out to their addiction. Many don’t even want to be there.
You can see why I personally feel helpless.
But then I was reminded that I am not their Savior. Jesus is. And my job is to point them to Him. I am not the oasis for their spiritual thirst. I am the sign that points to the Living Water (John 7:37).
One woman walked in who I hadn’t seen in weeks. She was visibly withdrawing from either meth or heroin. She had only been sober two days. I hugged her, told her I was so glad to see her and asked if we could pray. I took her to the throne of grace and pleaded with God to have mercy. She seemed help by the prayer. I hope she was. I pray for her still.
The feeling of helplessness is good because it reminds me of my place. Though I can relate to my people, I can’t save them. But I know the One who can, and He is mighty to save. He is far more powerful than I. And He cares infinitely more than I do. My feelings of compassion and love for others is but a drop in the ocean of His love. His mercies know no boundaries. He is ready to receive their brokenness and mend their hearts. I, therefore, must be like John the Baptist. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).