Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing” (Psalm 16:1-2).
An addiction, obsession or dependency on a particular ‘thing’ (whether it be alcohol, drugs, sex, food, size 0 figure etc.) can be provoked by numerous and diverse factors, such as stressful circumstances or a dissatisfaction with life. What starts out as a one-off incident or emotion can snowball into a life-threatening addiction. Though each individual experience is unique, many addictions begin because of hopelessness or depression, as a means of release from life and circumstances, or to avoid the root of the problem.
There is nothing in the world that will ever satisfy or give us hope and safety as God does. A high-flying career may give you recognition and the income for a great standard of living, but it doesn’t guarantee immunity from feeling depression and emptiness. A nice house and classy car could make you the envy of your neighbours and friends, but you will only continue wanting more possessions unless you know the ultimate meaning of your life.
Even when surrounded by our closest friends and family, we can still feel gnawing loneliness because in all sincerity, their love and company is not enough to satisfy our deepest needs. The greatest blessings in life cannot compete with the sweet presence of God, which is why the Psalmist said: “Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing” (Psalm 16:1-2). The times when I feel the greatest anguish are those when I feel God is silent, because God’s presence is the ultimate joy and without His love and direction, I’m lost.
Finding release or temporary satisfaction through certain substances or activities won’t remove a problem or negative feeling. They become addictions and dependencies which only become like a living nightmare as you lose your grip of control and war rages in your mind. No matter what trial or temptation you are facing, God’s presence is a refuge in which you can find rest and joy: “In your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
Though life doesn’t go according to your plan…though people hurt, reject, disappoint or don’t love you as much as you want to be loved…though you’ve just relapsed…don’t fear and don’t be dismayed. God desires to carry and comfort you when you are weak, hopeless, angry or lonely: “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).
Here’s a lovely piece called Footprints which beautifully expresses God’s comfort and care:
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints. So I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?” The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you.”
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:3-4).