He sat there shaking violently, the effect of two weeks straight binging on drugs. “I’m going to die,” he later said reflecting on the fear going through his mind during that occasion. Of course this wasn’t the first he’d been strung out on drugs – such had been his pattern ever since he dropped out of high school and lost his spot on the baseball team.
He was a druggie! Anything he could get his hands on he’d take. Once laid up in a hospital bed next to his friend, both overdosed but survivors, now he sat alone, just he and his dad outside the funeral home. Inside his cousin lay dead of an overdose from days earlier.
I loved this young man now in his late teens. I’ve known him since he was just a cute, bushy-headed toddler. But here he sat in the car with the window rolled down shaking violently.
“I’m scared! My insides are raging. I don’t know what to do!” he repeatedly said.
We prayed. “God, you are not the author of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. You have come to set captives free. Set Zac free, dear Lord. Give him life, save him.”
God answered our prayers that day. At least regarding physical life. I’ll never forget sitting across the table from him at IHOP late into the evening in the early morning hours, with him still under the effects of being stoned off his gourd for weeks straight.
But I learned something that night. God has the ability to even work in the heart of someone strung out on drugs. Zac prayed trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior. What a blessing to witness this new birth!
Zac had quite a journey to walk before he was totally free. He agreed to go to a Christ-centered, biblically-saturated men’s recovery home in Southwestern Oklahoma. His first attempt there ended in disgrace, and he was asked to leave.
For a few months he went back to his old life – going even further into darkness. Living in houses that had no utilities, without work, drugging it up again. I met him one day and took him to Cattlemen’s restaurant. We talked. I listened. He listened, as much as he was able to, as I reminded him of God’s grace as well as God’s right to rule over his life. I dropped him back off at the house where he was staying, after stopping by the grocery store for bottled water. “No running water,” Zac informed me.
And then it happened. God got Zac’s attention by letting him get caught. After a month or so in the OKC detention center Zac got permission to return to the residential home he’d been asked to leave. This time he made it with great success and much grace!
Fast forward to the present: I sat in my office at home opening up an email with an attachment. It was an assigned paper in fulfillment of a class requirement at Leavell College (The college at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary).
The Gospel as Eyewitness Testimony and the Development of Early Christology
Then it hit me – I was being asked to review a doctrinal paper excellently written by a former druggie named Zac. Now a fully devoted disciple of the Lord Jesus and pursuing a call to ministry, he was reaching out to me for affirmation and feedback on a theological paper. I bowed in thanks to the One who sets people free in Jesus. Praise the Lord for His grace.