Chap 1 Chalkboard Jesus 'King of Pain'
KING OF PAIN
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God;” -David
My good friend Ted should be dead.
He had consumed enough drugs to drop a very large horse. By all rights, Ted should be very dead.
But there he was, still alive. Try as he might, he couldn’t quite pull the trigger even though he had become suicidal. In fact, he wondered why he was still breathing. This dying thing was turning into a bunch of work. Go out and find drugs, then take as many as he could only to puke them out and have to start all over. He didn’t have a monkey on his back; it was a thousand pound gorilla. This gorilla was big and cranky, he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He wanted what he wanted, and he wanted it now. Spiritually and mentally, Ted was done and gone. Physically, he was still among the living, but began to walking, talking zombie. My poor Teddy had gone full night of the living dead.
He didn’t wake up one morning with the intention of becoming addicted to drugs, yet here he was. Truth be told, he wasn't even that good at it. He was deathly afraid of needles. He believed if he used a needle, he really was a junkie. If he used a needle, there was no going back. Snorting or eating the drug was scoffed at by decent junkies. “What a waste,” the wasted would say. Ted had given up on life on a lot of levels, but some part of him wasn't having it. Try as he might, he couldn't kill the life force within. Life still flickered inside; a very tiny pilot light somehow surviving all the hell and chaos he created. Deep inside, Ted was looking for a life mulligan, another shot.
How did everything go so wrong? It began with a lower back injury while working construction. He knew using street drugs wasn’t the best idea in the world. But prescription pain pills were different. He wasn't buying them in an abandoned building, or in a dark alley in a bad part of town. He dealt with a white-coat doctor in a local hospital. He knew the white-coated pharmacist in a neighborhood grocery store. Yet both were simply middlemen for billion dollar drug companies. Huge amounts of money are invested in developing and marketing this legal heroin and the message is: it's OK because a doctor prescribes it. No one mentions that because these drugs target the brain's pleasure centers, they are addictive as hell. No one mentions tricky side effects like tolerance, withdrawal, changes in personality, depression and little things like overdosing. No one mentions these powerful drugs take your mind and body; then they work on your soul.
Soon, Ted felt as though he couldn't function without his little friends. They were so cute and tiny, so cuddly and fun-loving; their pretty colors were always inviting. If two would work, four would work better. Although he quickly became dependent on these drugs, he was able to function and work every day as they masked his back pain. Soon, Ted couldn't imagine life without his little buddies.
Another issue with taking opiates is the fact they are relatively slow to leave the body. They tend to build up in the body's organs. Ted’s liver and kidneys screamed enough, but another dose would quiet them for a day. His brain became dependent on the pills to produce dopamine. When he tried to quit, a deep, dark depression set in. Life became colorless and worse of all he felt a distinct separation from God. All the pills in the world couldn’t fill that void but he certainly tried. On top of constantly feeding addictions, his back pain actually got worse. It got so bad Ted couldn’t even tie his shoes or roll out of bed with first using something, anything. His life was a living hell and he couldn’t imagine it getting worse.
Of course, worse is what Ted got. His runaway freight train was bound to derail. Financial issues, legal issues, physical and mental breakdowns; all came together for a perfect explosion. His life was a lot like a ten-ton bomb going off. The explosion brought his life crashing down in a million little pieces.
He found himself kicking hard drugs the old fashioned way: busted in a cold, cramped county jail. It wasn't a pretty picture and not something we would recommend, as it was weeks of pure hell. The only good thing is the fact it is in the best interest of staff to keep you alive to avoid nasty paperwork and press. One day he came upon a bible and desperately squeezed it like a life preserver. As his mind cleared, he began to read and tried to make sense of it all.
JUST ENOUGH GRACE
“For whom the Lord loveth, He correcteth.” -Psalms Ted certainly got the corrected part, now he was asking to feel the love. As foggy as he was, he knew he had to thank God for a bottom and an end to his run. While he wasn’t feeling the least bit thankful for his predicament, he thanked God anyway. It took Ted reaching bottom to begin looking up. It took reaching a dark bottom and becoming so broken that the only way out was by turning to God above. Somewhere in the darkness would be a door to light, a door to healing. There was nowhere to go but within to find a way out. The darkness he felt would be followed by a light; a light that would signal the dawn of a bright new world.
For now, my friend’s reality was not pretty. It was pretty much all bad. It was so bad; he chose to start labeling everything good. It was good to be in jail, as it forced him to kick the drugs. He was free. It was all good as he puked again and again. Ted was forced to look on his weakness as a perfect blessing to begin relying on the strength of the living God. At rock bottom, there was nowhere to look but up. My friend simply prayed for enough grace to make it through the next hour. And thank God, there was always enough.
His grace brought a certain calmness and the beginning of healing and hope. Hopefully, the doom and gloom would become a powerful learning experience. The rocky path he had chosen could become the shortest route to an awakening. The pain would be the birth of a new spirit; a new beginning. I believe there are no coincidences in this life. As the whole ordeal failed to kill Ted, it would only make him stronger. His life was totally mucked up and he handed the whole mess over to Jesus. Jesus could deal with it; He'd know what to do. Dealing with disasters is something Jesus does. Simply relying on the words, “Thy will be done,” felt so freeing.
A genuine healing journey begins within and it starts with find what is true. It begins with finding what is true and trusting your inner truth. At that point, Ted’s truth was a world of hurt, but the Bible was full of healing. In desperation, he called out to God. With nothing more to lose, he decided to call God on God's word. It was time for God to do some God stuff.
“God, You promised,” my friend pointed out. Ted sorely needed to feel His light and love. He happened to be lying on his left side with his hands crossed over the middle of his upper chest. In this position, he began to feel God’s warmth and presence. In the presence of God, he found peace. In God’s presence, he finally felt safe. For the first time in a long time, my friend felt well-being. Here he found hope; here there was grace. Nothing Ted had tried before relieved his back pain. Intuitively, he combined two methods he had tried earlier: touch and prayer. This combination brought an immediate end to his debilitating lower back misery. Boom! Instant complete healing!
The relief Ted felt was nothing short of a miracle. Transformation was as simple as combining right thought and soothing touch. He had merely mixed prayer and meditation with specific hand positions targeting areas in need. This synergy brought spontaneous healing to pain he had lived with for years. Everything he needed to heal was waiting within the whole time. Draw near to the living God by taking your thoughts on higher, holier ground and He will draw near to you. In His presence is a wellness, a distinct feeling of being whole. In His presence, disease and pain are exposed as being merely an absence of God’s light. Without the pain my friend was open to His light and love. Instead of old and done, Ted was restored and empowered. Hell, he could tie his shoes again.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."-James