The devil can get a foothold in each of our lives in many different ways. It does not matter your age, your race, your living conditions, or your income: he will at some point, and in some way, attempt to become the king of your life.
Last week we met with a man named Daniel who has suffered from being an alcoholic for about 10 years. This man has lost his wife, his job, tens of thousands of dollars, and most importantly his dignity and self-respect. One of the main things that stuck out to us was what he said when asked why he began to drink in the first place:
“When I was younger, I never felt like I fit in and all I wanted to do was fit in. Alcohol seemed to help me do this.”
In Daniel’s life, Satan made him feel different, left out, and alone. By doing this, he separated Daniel from people that could love, care, and support him but also discipline him when he needed it.
With many people we work with, the devil has made a way to leave an empty spot in their life. They are then choosing to fill this emptiness with something else, something of this world. This creates a foothold that the devil gets on their life and refuses to let go. Whether this is drugs, alcohol, women, or money, nothing will fulfill what only Christ can fill. Our hope is that by surrounding Daniel with Christ-following community and support he can begin to feel God release the hold that the devil has had on him.
The people we have the opportunity to work with come from all different backgrounds. We’ve worked with people that were living in homeless shelters, housing projects, double-wides, under bridges, and in nice homes in the suburbs. Some of them graduated from high school, some of them dropped out, some got their GED, some didn’t make it out of elementary school, and some got scholarships to go to college. They all carry different baggage from past decisions and circumstances. They battle different addictions and wrestle with a variety of mental health issues. Some of them don’t have a relationship with their family, some of them don’t know who their dad is, some of them wish they didn’t know who their dad is, and some of them have loving parents that we’ve had the opportunity to walk with while their child struggles along this journey.
And while so much of what each person brings to the table is different, so much of it is exactly the same. They’re all lonely. They all feel isolated. And they all struggle to cope with the myriad of issues and emotions that come from this loneliness.
So, while many of us can’t sympathize with a lot of what these folks are struggling with, we can sympathize with their loneliness. We may never have battled addiction, been in trouble beyond a speeding ticket, or wondered where we were going to sleep each night. But all of us have experienced times of intense loneliness in our lives. We’ve felt isolated and alone. We’ve wondered if anyone cared about or understood what we were going through. And we’ve all longed to have people walk with us through our struggles.
This is something that God has been teaching us a lot about lately. For a long time we thought we understood what it meant to invest in and build relationships with the people we’re working with. Lately we’re beginning to understand just how much deeper the issue of loneliness truly is in the lives of those we work with.
This is why the theme of our year-end campaign is Never Alone. It’s something we can all resonate with and it’s something we can all fight for in the lives of those we’re called to love. We wanted to tell you some of the stories of those we’ve worked with and how God has led us to walk with them over the years. But we also want you to pray with us and for us as we continue to grow in our understanding of how much further we need to go in surrounding those God has put in our lives with gospel-centered intentional community. You can click here to read a few stories of people we’ve worked with over the years. We’ll also be posting some new stories here on the blog in the coming weeks. Thanks so much for all of your prayers and support. We hope you all have a great Christmas.
Yesterday we spent time in the suburbs, the hood, and rural Alabama.
We went to the probation office, a professional counselor’s office, and the projects.
We spent time with people who come from completely different backgrounds. They look different, talk different, and think different.
But they all have the same root problem- and so do we. And we know there’s only one solution to that problem. And that’s why we do what we do.