Monday, August 23, 2010

Hope for the Sinner in Jesus Christ

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  -II Corinthians 5:17 

Recently I was reflecting on a friend of mine from many years ago named John.* I have not seen him in many years and I am sad to say that I have no idea whatever became of him.  John and I met when we were working together at a warehouse in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio.  Early on I could see that John was struggling with a number of personal issues.  He was an alcoholic, a drug addict, and suffered from depression.  Eventually John was fired from his job at the warehouse due to his frequent absences and showing up for work either late, intoxicated, or both.  After he was fired I tried to keep in touch with him, but that was always a challenge.  His family rarely knew where he was, and he moved about almost constantly.

Despite my efforts to witness to John and lead him to faith in Christ, he continued to fall prey to the demons within himself.  He could not break the power those dark forces had upon him.  I told John to call me if I could ever help him out.  One night he took me up on my offer and showed up at my home, bleary-eyed and extremely strung out.  After several hours of prayer, strong coffee, and lots of talking, he became calm and appeared to sober up somewhat.  By then it was around 2:00 AM and John was in no condition to drive, so I invited him to sleep on my couch.  I gave him a pillow and a blanket and told him we would talk some more in the morning.    

The next morning I woke up to find that John had left.  Sadly, that was the last time I ever saw him.  Two years later a door of ministry opened up to Andrea and I in Cincinnati and we relocated there.  During return trips I tried numerous times to find John and find out how he was doing, but these attempts were unsuccessful.  My hope down through the years has been that John would heed the gospel message that was planted in his heart.  If John or anyone like him would put their faith in Jesus Christ they would find victory over the chains that bind them.    

All these years later I remember John, and I pray that he’s all right.  Is there someone like John in your life?  Never give up on this person; pray, seek God on his or her behalf, and continue to reach out in the name of Jesus.  Remember that Jesus Christ specializes in lost causes.  Anyone, no matter how far gone, can become a new person in Jesus Christ. 

Reach out, pray, and God will do the rest.  Our efforts to reach others are never in vain. 

*Name has been changed.  

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