If you would have met them, you might have come to the conclusion that theirs was not exactly a match made in heaven...maybe the other place. Their relationship...like most came together because of what they had in common and what they had in common... wasnt all that good. Mental illness, addictive behavior, and a victim mentality, were the combustible combination that provided the foundation for their co-dependant relationship.
Ironically, her name was Crystal, which is what she and her boyfriend, James, were addicted to...Crystal methamphetamine, that is. James and Crystal were shacking up together in a single wide trailer in Sky Valley, California. To say the trailer was a dump was an understatement. The trailer reeked of cigarette smoke, rotten food, body odor and drugs. The trailer was so dirty, that I think cockroaches were too disgusted to inhabit it. There was no denying that Satan had a stronghold on this couple. They were in survival mode and had just enough motivation to seek out handouts. That is how they came across my path. They wanted something to eat...they had spent all their social security and disability on copping a fix. The money ran out and the drugs ran out...and they found themselves suffering from something they normally didn’t suffer from...hunger pains.
They heard through the grapevine, that they could call me and ask for food. So one evening, I received a somewhat desperate phone call and found myself taking inventory of our retreat center’s walk-in fridge... in order to put together a care package. I put the box in the back of my car and traveled the 3-miles to the trailer park...And so began our awkward and uncomfortable connection. Over the next several months, I made many such trips...knowing full well that I was being used. But each interaction gave me the opportunity to share some love…some truth, and perhaps shed some light into their seemingly hopeless situation.
They both had heard the gospel on several occasions...had even paid lip service to it...but neither one of them had ever applied the power or promises that the gospel supplied. James and Crystal had both made decisions for Christ...but they had never exercised faith. Truth be told, playing the victim was easier...using was easier...the comfortableness of their miserable existence... was more preferable... to the uncomfortable prospect of transformed lives and the expectations that might be placed upon them. When your whole identity and existence has been based upon coping in your misery...not being miserable becomes down right terrifying.
Jesus ran into a similar situation in the gospel of John. He confronted an invalid on one of the porches of the pool of Bethesda. The man had been lame for 38 years, and was seemingly holding out for some kind of pipe-dream of a miracle to be healed. As Jesus addresses the man, He asks him a probing question that reveals some stuff about his circumstance. Jesus asked Him, Do you want to be healed? Seem like a dumb question? Actually it was a very insightful question. For 38 years this guy had been an invalid... for 38 years his whole identity was wrapped up in being the helpless victim. Up until this point, everything had to be done for him. Now Jesus was asking him If he really wanted to receive something that would give him the power to take responsibility. In the past there had been no expectations on him...but now with this newfound freedom and power...he would not have any excuses.
I heard a man named, Bob Phillips once say, "The reason people don't change, is because they haven't hurt enough yet." Sometimes, it takes a whole lot of misery, before someone finally says, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. Sometimes a good amount of pain is what it takes to prompt people to exercise their faith, trust the Lord with their circumstances, and then put forth the EFFORT...to do whatever it is they need to do, to deal with their dirt.
One day, James and Crystal showed up at my door...they were on their way to buy meth, but decided to show up at my door and ask for help instead. They said... and at that moment, I believe sincerely... that they wanted to get 'clean'. I spent the next couple weeks helping them get their finances in order...helped them get packed...and personally drove them down and got them checked into a Christ-centered drug rehab.
Now, I would like to end this by saying, "And they lived happily ever after". But that is not the case. A couple days later, James and Crystal ran away from the rehab, chose to stay the night sleeping on a bus, and called the Sheriff's Department on me, and reported that I had abandoned them at a cult. God used that to teach me about not getting jaded...but that is another story.