I’ve written about Troy before (see Being Born Again on Sunday) – he’s the guy who asked to be born again one Sunday morning at Refuge this past summer. A life-long alcoholic, Troy has since shared with us that since he’s been 18 he’s been in and out of 20 correctional facilities of all different levels of security. He’s 40 now. During the Alpha course that he and his wife, Marie, participated in this past fall he answered the icebreaker question – “What’s the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?” – in this way: “My best Christmas gift will be to be sober and surrounded by my family.” He can’t recall a Christmas when he’s not been drunk.
|This was a different Christmas for Troy and his family|
This past Christmas Eve into the sanctuary he walked with his two step-daughters, Angel and Nicole, and his son, Alex, as well as a couple of his grandkids in tow (Marie was at home getting their dinner ready). And he was sober. Each one of his kids was proudly wearing a cross, a gift from their parents to announce that this Christmas was different than all the ones before. While I strummed away on my guitar and sang, it was difficult, at times, to concentrate as right before my eyes I was witnessing a miracle – a life-long drunk sober and in his right mind holding his candle, surrounded by his family and worshiping the One who has saved him. This was the not the product of a man’s will and faithful participation in A.A. (while early on I encouraged him to check out the Tuesday group that meets at Refuge, at this point he’d rather not). No, this is what comes from a man surrendering his life to the Lord Jesus and then diving head-first into a loving, local fellowship who has embraced him as he is not as he hopes he one day will be. Unconditional love by God and men is a powerful elixir that can cure the human heart of so many of the ills that plague it.