January 31, 2019
Volume 23, Number 5
A story like this gets around. Joie Henney is a man familiar to some; for eleven years he hosted a show on ESPN Outdoors in which he took viewers into the wild, exploring the flora and fauna that so many never experience. But somewhere along the way Joie developed depression. And he’s not one who wants to rely on medications.
Joie has found the support that helps him: Wally. Wally is a 14-month-old alligator, rescued from outside Orlando. Wally is five feet long, and Joie likes to snuggle with his friend. Apparently Wally likes the closeness just as much. But one day, Joie admits, his friend could reach 16 feet in length.
Is this another example of something a person might turn to for support, only to realize later that their “support” has become a source of danger, perhaps even lethal danger? As has often happened with wild animals taken in for pets, as the creature matures their wild instincts assert themselves more than ever.
Most people won’t turn to alligators for support. But how many turn to equally dangerous substances? In time, that “friend” becomes the master, and the person in need of support becomes the slave.
Warnings are sounded about such substances in Proverbs 23:31,32: “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper.” Earlier in this book of wisdom we read that “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). Some substances should be viewed with the same wary eye as cuddly-looking alligators!
A more trustworthy support is found in Scripture: it’s the Lord Himself. Think about a passage we know very well: Psalm 23. The Lord is there presented as a Shepherd, one who can guide us through difficult times in life. Even when we’re compelled to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death”, we don’t have to fear for the Lord is with us. He guides and comforts us with His rod and staff.
This is not to suggest that medications are off-limits to the Christian. Even wine, with all of the warning flags that surround it, can be useful in health settings. Paul urged his young associate in 1 Timothy 5:23 to “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.” But note the phrase – “a little” wine. Even good medicine can be used improperly and can lead to bad outcomes.
We all need support at times. Let’s make sure we turn to the right sources for that support: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
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Copyright, 2019, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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