James banks

You Don’t Get A Casserole

“When you tell someone, ‘My child has cancer,’ people flock to your door. But when you say, ‘My child’s in treatment for substance abuse,’ you don’t get a casserole.”

Those direct words were from my friend Roxanne, a substance abuse counselor at Duke. She knows what she’s talking about. In her years of practice she’s seen family after family do their best to cope with the heart-breaking choices their children have made.

It can be a lonely battle. You’re standing in the line at the supermarket listening to glowing tales from another parent about her child’s successes. When she asks how your own is doing, you answer as positively as you can. But you find yourself searching for words.

The truth is, it’s difficult for others to understand if they haven’t walked the same road. Fortunately for us, however, God does.

God understands that you did not choose for your child to be this way.

God understands that you have tried to raise your child to do better, and to love Him and want His best for his life.

God understands that you still love your child and believe in him, regardless of the mistakes he’s made and the sins he’s so willfully committed.

God understands, period. And there is great comfort in that.

It means we can pour our hearts out to Him, no matter how bad it gets.

It means we can take hold of His Word and His promises, and trust that even in this “God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).

We don’t have to understand all of it. But knowing that God understands makes all the difference.

I love what the Pharisees said about Jesus: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2, NIV). That gives me incredible hope for my child.

I also love what Jesus said: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

Others may not understand what you’re going through. No casseroles may come to your door.

But call to Him, and Jesus will. He is still risen, and He is still Lord. And In His hands is all the help we need.

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