The Daily Scroll – Deepest Depths

 There was a Priest who struggled all of his adult life with alcoholism. As a teenager his buddies and he would hide out in a friends’ barn and spend hours playing cards and drinking whatever they could steal from their parents and relatives liquor closets. It was all fun and games they would tell each other, as they challenged each other to chug one more drink. 

Later after graduation his friends grew up and gave up the excess drinking but the future Father did not. He became an alcoholic and began drinking alone. This destroyed his life, his future until one hot July day, he threw his last bottle of whiskey in the dumpster which he was living beside and said “enough.”

He entered a program at church, got clean, and turned his life around. Still the temptation was always there, lurking like a vulture over his shoulder waiting for him to die. Wanting to help others and live right he became a priest. He studied and eventually was given a church to pastor. His dreams were coming true. 

The Father found caring for his congregation in this inner city poor part of town very challenging. People struggling with alcohol and drugs were his every day work. He helped many and even set up a shelter to help people “dry out” and become clean. Then tragedy struct. His mother and sister was killed in a car accident and his father was permanently paralyzed. Gripped with grief and left to care for his father, his life became too much for him to bear.

Late one night while closing up the church and the shelter, he found something which became the last straw in his miserable house of cards. A half empty bottle of whiskey. Picking it up to discard, he couldn’t release it from his grip. Though he hadn’t had a taste in more than 25 years, the bottle called to him. “You do so much for others and you’ve lost so much, go ahead…you deserve to have a little pleasure in life. You can quit after tonight but what’s the harm in taking one night off?

Six months later the Father changed into a hoodie and jeans to enter the liquor store to purchase his new best friend. He couldn’t wait to get home, so after leaving the store he turned into the first alley, sat down beside a dumpster, leaned against the wall and hurriedly opened the bottle. He knew nobody would see him there. Six months, six months of drinking, hiding the truth, covering his breath, becoming a functioning alcoholic. After all, he told himself, he deserved it. 

Hours later father felt himself being kicked. Waking up abruptly he looked into the familiar eyes of a police officer. “Hey buddy,” the cop said. “There’s a law against public drunkenness. You’re coming with us.” The two officers lifted him by the arms and placed him in the back seat of their patrol car. The cop driving kept glancing at him through the rear view mirror then suddenly realized, even with his cap pulled low, “Hey you’re my priest!” I don’t go to mass that often but I’d recognize you anywhere!”

Father was mortified. He thought now I’m going to lose everything. The cop driving told his partner, 

“Bill I’ve got to do something. Just trust me.” So he drove to the church instead of the police station, took father carefully from the car and walked him to his quarters in the back. He helped him change clothes, washed his face and tucked him into bed. But before he left, he knelt down beside the bed and prayed. “Dear God, please help this your servant, your child. He has made the difference in so many lives, and I don’t know what has brought him down to these depths, but please reach down and pull him out. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Left alone now and crying, father prayed, “Dear God, forgive me for my sin, my lack of faith, and my weakness. Please restore me and give me another chance to gain your love.” God replied in that still small voice, “Son, you have never lost my love. You may have lost your way but I sent those officers to you to rescue you. You were in the deepest depths of despair and could not help yourself, even though you wanted to. I heard your inner cry and yes, you’re forgiven and restored. Look to me as your help. When you see a bottle, see me. For I am there with you and will help you. Never will I leave you.”

With that, father slept. When he woke up he felt fresh and a knew. He had a new start and deliverance from the deepest depth. He knew he would never, ever, go to those deepest depths again.


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