By Elta Lubbe, Centurion
If you live in Pretoria, you may have driven past him quite a few times. Maybe you stopped and pushed a few rand into his hands, maybe you looked the other way, maybe you silently judged him for being “one of those people that society can do without.” I know, for I have been there. I looked away. I judged. And then God changed my heart.
One day, as I found myself in a Bible Study focused on discovering God’s will and obeying His voice, God directed me to becoming involved in a “halfway house” for young men struggling with addictions. That is where I met Steven (not his real name).
Steven was sad. He had downcast eyes, a shy toothless smile. His skin was scorched from spending too many hours in the hot Highveld sun where he had to beg for money to buy his next fix. When we met however, he was already off the heroin for three months.
As we started interacting, he began to trust me with the puzzle pieces of his heartbreaking story: a mother that left the house when he was only two years old, a grandmother that gave up after a few months, the welfare, the children’s home, a father that visited once or twice, and then disappeared… The struggle to find a job and a place to stay after completing school and being “discharged” from the children’s home, searching for and finding the father that he needed so much, only to find that he was still not welcome… having to sleep on the sidewalks, and then being introduced to the cheap drug that will take you in its arms and sing you a lullaby until you feel warm, cozy and comforted – without a care in the world. Until it’s too late to realize that the nightmare has begun…
With a few other men at the Halfway House, Steven was introduced to the Discovery Bible Study method and within a few weeks he agreed to step out of his comfort zone and facilitate a Bible study session on his own.
He has since grown from being an unforgiving, lost and angry young man who could not hear the voice of the Lord, to a soft spoken, free child of God who encourages and prays for those who are struggling.
Steven is still involved in Discovery Bible Studies at a Sunday Gathering that he attends regularly, and hopes to be able to start a group at the Halfway House where he is currently residing. He says that, through DBS, he has learned a lot about himself and about God. He understands the Bible better, and he has gained a lot of confidence in speaking about God and His Word. He has also been able to forgive many people.
When I asked him what he would like to say to those still struggling with their addictions, he looked up, and with his eyes sparkling, said with a still toothless smile: “I’ll tell them that God is alive, that He is always with us, and that, if you want to conquer your addiction, even the best medication and pills will be useless if you do not have God.”