Today while waiting to fly, I read the book of Jonah. There are so many comparisons with Jonah's tale (no pun intended) and my own story of addiction and recovery.
In Chapter 1, God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against it. Ninevah was a dangerous city that was well-known for it's attrocities so Jonah fought against God's calling and fled. In fact, he fled in the toal opposite direction from where God wanted him to go. I had similar experience when I first accepted Christ and he started to convict me of my addiction. Repeatedly after acting out, which for me involved pornography, God would place on my heart to repent from my actions. Most of the time I would try to silence that voice by distracting myself with work or other things.
Jonah's escape vessel was a ship and God struck it with a violent storm that threatened to destroy the entire vessel. The ship's crew were well-aware of this fact but Jonah was sound asleep. He was sleeping so deeply that the captain of the vessel had to wake him up and ask him "How can you sleep?" This was where I was with my addiction. Everyone knew I had a problem and that my ship was sinking except myself because I was asleep in denial over my addiction.
Eventually Jonah volunteers to be thrown overboard in the hope to save the ship, but not before the sailors try to do evrything possible to save Jonah. My wife sacrificed over and overt to hold things together while I continued on in my addiction.
Once Jonah is thrown overboard he begins to drown in the raging sea. He describes the swirling currents that threatened to engulf him and the seaweed that was wrapped around his head. What's marvelous picture of addiction! Jonah had made the decision to be accountable for his actions by volunteering to be thrown overboard. He was willing to pay the consequence for his sins and felt totally trapped and was drowning. As I started down the road to recovery, things got worse and not better at first as I faced all the hurt and pain I caused my loved ones. There were times when I didn't want to be transparent to my wife because I was so tired of letting her down. There were times when I didn't want to talk to others about my addiction because I didn't want to be known as the pervert.
That was when God stepped in and rescued Jonah, not with a ship, but with a great fish. Can you imagine what it was like to be in the belly of that whale? You have nothing to do, can't see the end in sight, and it smells. But check out what Jonah did during that time. He prayed and thanked God. He thanked God because even though he was in an aweful place, the alternative would have been death. That's what recovery is about. It's painful, lonlely at times, and stinks. But if we keep on the path that we're going, the only thing that awaits us is death. Death of our families, death of our careers, spiritual death, and even physical death. All of which results in the death of our souls after we die in this world.
So may you awaken from your slumber. And may you be willing to step off of whatever escape vessel your on to face the waters below. And may the Lord, our God, rescue you and bring you out of your pit to new life.