The likelihood that he would crash greatly increased as his life veered off track. One minute George was a youth pastor at the top of his ministry, pulling in kids from all walks of life, and inspiring in them the need for Jesus. The next minute he was spiraling downward in a drunken haze losing sight of not only himself, but of his purpose in his church community, his purpose in life. He felt misguided, numb; he couldn’t even see that probable future that once was so close he could have reached out to touch the brilliance of it.
Life was bleak. He no longer went to church, let alone involved himself in any ministries. His wife, who had come alongside him as a youth leader in recent years, had separated from him and was living with her sister. Even his dog moped around, dejected, obviously disgusted with him as well.
George hadn’t meant to start up drinking again. That was something of his past, an addiction that had not reared its ugly head in a very long time. He supported plenty of teens battling their own addictions, and not once had he yearned for a drink, until, his dad died.
It wasn’t a devastating blow nor was it a surprise, since his dad was a full blown alcoholic, with a liver so drenched in liquor, it was a wonder he had lived as long as he had. It was, in simple terms, a tipping point. There George had stood on the top of a beautiful cliff, overlooking a view others would covet, holding the hand of a truly godly woman. The day his dad died he started to fall from his great height, slow-motion like, and every hurt that had not been forgiven, every abuse that kept him a victim in chains, and every conversation he wished he could have had or wished had been different went with his dad to the grave. It was the one part of his life he had refused to let God heal, the largest burden he could not lay at the cross. The day his father died he came undone, not knowing what to do with the massive pain he carried with him, the guilt and shame he had always hidden.
He then turned to the addiction that had held his father, the addiction that had once consumed him when he was young but that he had rid himself of when he became an adult and could escape the abuse of his household, the addiction that inevitably would careen his career, his relationship, and his future right over the cliff that was his life.
Needless to say, his viewpoint was pretty barren, laying at the foot of the mountain, looking up at what was, what used to be, left to grapple among the rocks and debris that had fallen around and with him on the way down.
As he sat on his couch, flipping through mindless television, taking swigs from his fourth beer that hour, a loud knock at his door caused him to jump, almost turning over his bottle. Another sharp rap had him scrambling haphazardly to his feet.
"Coming!" he slurred.
He fumbled with the locks, opening the door wide. There shivered a teen boy, sporting a black eye, that was quickly turning brilliant shades of purple and blue, sewing his eye almost completely shut. A glint of recognition broke through his cloudy mind.
"What are you doing here?"
"I—I didn’t have anyplace to go," he chattered, wrapping his skinny arms around his quaking chest.
"You shouldn’t be here—
He stared up at him with hollow, hurting eyes. "Come in." George quickly cleared away the empty beers, throwing an afghan his way. The boy stood there meekly, blanket in hand, looking lost.
"Go ahead, sit down."
"He started up again. He smelled like whiskey when he came home tonight."
George sighed heavily.
"Where did God go? How come he didn’t protect me?"
He doesn’t care, George thought. The boys’ familiar eyes bore into him and he knew it was a lie. God had always cared, loved, holding him in times of hurt and despair, and was patiently waiting for his return.
George’s heart began to pour out years of pain as he cried, "Father, help us, heal us!", looking into his own, youthful reflection, while clinging to an afghan, rumpled from sleep…
When he opened his eyes, the mountain was gone. In it’s place: hope.
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