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There are many theories out there about addiction – its causes, how it takes root and how it perpetuates. There are even more out there about its remedies – how it’s cured, how to treat it and how to live with it.

When I was in treatment at Rob’s Ranch, they told us that the medical community, and even the government, had declared addiction a disease. When I first heard this I must admit I kind of chuckled. I was new in sobriety, really new, like three days into it. So it seemed like a phony excuse made up for addicts like me. You know something they tell you so you don’t feel so bad about how horrible your life had become.

But the more I let this theory roll around in my skull, the more and more it began to make sense. A disease, in its most basic form is a sickness. The simplest step to begin overcoming any sickness is by a daily regimented treatment. Right?

Well I knew I had a problem that I couldn’t stop on my own. I had tried for years to cure my own ills, only to fail time and time again. So a few weeks into treatment, as my mind started to clear up, I began to understand how daily treatment could really help me to overcome my sickness. Pretty soon that description of disease started sounding pretty good to me. I was sick and I needed someone, something to help me get well.

If you are a Bible reader you may know the story of Jesus’ good friend Lazarus in the book of John. The story begins by the admission that Lazarus was sick. Here is what it says…

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” John 11:1-3 NIV

So sick was Lazarus that his sister and close friend felt the need to relay to Jesus, with urgency, this news, in hopes that Jesus would hear it and come running. Or better yet, just heal him on the spot.

But, knowing that Jesus is God, in bone and skin. We realize He already knew the sickness was upon his friend and the way in which the story would end. Just the same way He knows you and me and the ending to our stories.

We see later in verse four what Jesus’ response was upon receiving this distress call from Lazarus’ posse. This powerful verse shook me to my core when I heard it. Here is what is says.

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” John 11:4 NIV

Boom! As soon as I heard that, my mind rushed back to that moment when I was first told that the plague that nearly killed me was a disease, a sickness. I could have died from that sickness. In fact, many of my good friends have. Many who were sitting in that same lecture with me two years ago are dead. But not me. Why? God had a bigger plan. A brighter purpose. A future, a hope.

Is it for me to receive acclaim? Of course NOT.

Is it for my counselors to be praised? NO.

Was I spared so I could write a book or get a pat on the back after speaking somewhere? Not a chance.

I was spared from my sickness for one reason and one reason only. So that God’s Son, Jesus would be glorified through it. So that by me continuing to live, He would receive more glory, more honor and more praise.

We all face sickness in our lives. Some of you are literally dealing with disease and illness right now, in this moment. You are suffering through sicknesses of depression, anxiety, hate, pain, trauma, molestation and the list could go on and on.

Whatever sickness you’re facing today, I want you to know and believe that it doesn’t have to end in death. God wants to use it for His glory. He wants to bring you back to Himself, opening up an endless foundation of freedom, forgiveness and love. He is the miracle worker. He is the magnificent healer. He is making all things new and today. Trust that He has a plan and that it starts today. He can turn your sickness into a story. For His glory!

-Hope is Alive!