I’ve been in recovery for many years and even longer as a follower of Christ. You’d think that after being a Christian for over 20 years that I would’ve already believed as Principle 2 says “that God existed, that I mattered to Him, and that He had the power to help me recover.” But there is a huge difference between believing something in your head, experiencing it in your heart, and ultimately trusting God day by day and minute by minute.
That is the kind of belief that Principle 2 is talking about. John Baker, the co-founder of Celebrate Recovery calls this the hope principle. Up until this point, we were likely powerless to change as we just kept trying harder. Thankfully the Hope of Christ comes into the picture very early in our 12-step process.
Prior to starting recovery, I was a believer who was searching for answers to my problems and my pain by attending church and Bible study. I was going through the motions but not feeling any different on the inside or outside. I was familiar with the words from II Corinthians 5:17 that I was made new in Christ. I believed in Jesus Christ as my savior, but why was I not feeling new?
Because of my family’s history of mental illness, I really believed that there was something wrong with me. Fortunately, I persisted—thinking that someday God would make it all better. My misunderstanding lay in the fact that I did not realize that it was now up to ME to allow the Holy Spirit to complete the transformation process. I just wanted my thoughts, habits and compulsive behaviors to automatically vanish. But God doesn’t work that way. Praying harder doesn’t work.
When I started attending Celebrate Recovery meetings, I could visibly see the Hope of Christ in the other program participants. I heard their testimonies. I heard them share their struggles in groups. I wanted what they had. Their sharing and encouragement gave me hope.
It was not the kind of deferred hope that makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). Their acceptance of me in all my brokenness gave me the hope that fulfilled the longing of my heart. It was Jesus filling the gaping hole in my heart—the hole I kept trying to fill with unhealthy addictions and self-gratification.
I am still a work in progress, but I have enough faith, recovery, and victory behind me to trust God to continue to give me healing and hope. Even with faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), you can receive the Hope of Christ.
I can say without a doubt that my hope comes from the Lord. How about you? Where does your hope come from?
“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)
Contributed by a leader at Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau.