by Jean-Paul Thorne, Educational Director
I was talking with a student in our program recently, and during the conversation he expressed how he actually likes chaos, how there is a part of him that likes the excitement of chaos and the unknown. He said it as he spoke about his life of addiction. I could relate. Like me, and others who dove into drug use, it’s not just the drug itself that becomes the overall “high”. The ways we get it, the situations we put ourselves into, the rituals that go along with it are all part of the excitement. There was an element of excitement going into neighborhoods and putting ourselves into situations with drug dealers and people who could be very dangerous. And the journeys we went on were filled with crazy, chaotic circumstances. Some barely within, and most, outside of our control. It was all part of the exhilaration. Looking back on it, it’s hard to believe I thought like that. But I did. Addicts do.
And then I had an “aha” moment. As soon as he said, “I like chaos, I liked the unknown of it all, never knowing what could happen.” I immediately responded with, “Then you’re a perfect candidate to be a follower of Christ!” It hit me just like that. That is exactly what Christ offers! He says, “Come, and follow me.” And He means it with complete abandon and trust, allowing Him to lead you into situations and circumstances that are filled with the unknown, the risky, but in a very different way; the kind of environments that put us at the mercy of overwhelming odds and enormous amounts of trust. I immediately realized that the “feeling” the student described is common to man, and man uses it to delve into frivolous, fruitless, and, end the end, unsatisfying pursuits…drugs, dangerous endeavors and so forth; an unhealthy kind of pursuit and seeking of excitement through chaos, danger, and the unknown that ultimately leads to ruination, and, sadly, sometimes death.
And Christ, in stark contrast, beckons us to follow. And tells us from the beginning that it will not only be uncomfortable, not only have suffering, but require our very lives. Not may…but will. And He promises, in the doing, an eternal reward of immeasurable value. Now, that takes trust! It also demands an abandonment to the unknown which requires an immersion of oneself into a place where you are not in control, immersed in the uncertain…at least on your part, but not on God’s. You’ll find yourself in place where God will ask you to let go of things, and take hold of things, and go places… that will require an immense amount of courage, trust, and faith. And this journey is far from frivolous, full of fruitfulness, and altogether satisfying; and ultimately leads to life.