Addictions and compulsions are a kind of bondage. Painful memories are also like chains that bind us. We try harder and harder to change. But sometimes the harder we try, the tighter the chains become. Recovery begins when we recognize that our bondage is too great for us. We are not powerful enough to break these chains. Either we will find a power greater than ourselves to help us, or we will stay in bondage.
Many people find the idea of powerlessness to be very troubling. We want to be competent and self-reliant. And, many of us have had people attempt to 'rescue' us in ways that have increased our shame and self-contempt. So, why should we welcome the God-who-rescues? Won't he also shame us?
First, notice in this text that God's intervention is in response to a request. We do not serve a codependent God. God is not entangled in our compulsions. God will not rescue in ways that are shame-full. God knows that we need to be ready to be helped and that we need to cry out for help.
Notice also in this text that it is the God-of-unfailing-love who is our higher power. Because so many of us are convinced that God is vindictive, punitive and abusive, it can be terrifying in our powerlessness to focus on the power of God. We are sure that all of that power will be used against us. But the God-of-unfailing-love is not a vindictive, punitive or abusive God. God is a God-of-tough-love. That's the only kind of love that can be 'unfailing.' But God is not 'against' us. God is 'for' us.
Recovery is being set free by God's powerful love.
I was powerless, Lord.
I expected you to increase my shame and self-contempt.
But you are a God of unfailing love.
I expected you to use your power against me.
But when I called, you came.
You crashed the gates.
You cut the bars.
You broke the chains.
You are leading me out of this darkness and deepest gloom
into the light of day.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery