“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” The Apostle Paul
Mike does not remember much about his childhood.
He was raised in a small town where his mother was addicted to pain medications.
Shoving deep issues under the carpet became an art form in Mike’s family.
Mike’s dad never hugged him, told him he loved him, or showed any emotion at all toward him.
“Being in a small town, everyone knew everyone else’s business and I was embarrassed of my mom and her addictions and I was embarrassed of our home.”
In Mike’s teens he stayed away from home and went the wild route, drinking and smoking and doing drugs.
“I guess not feeling loved you’re going to find love somewhere and I found it in music, girls, drugs and alcohol.”
Mike spent 3 weeks in college and then was gone at 18.
The military lottery was happening and he was lucky number 13.
Mike was drafted quickly. He spent 6 years in the army.
After 6 years Mike came home, got married, had two sons and went to work as a machinist to pay the bills and raise his kids.
Mike didn’t know how to have a healthy relationship and his marriage ended badly.
He moved to Southern California to start all over again.
“I knew about God my whole life but I had no clue what it meant to have a relationship with God. We used to call people Jesus Freaks who would say, ‘Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?’ I’d always say, ‘Yeah’ to shut them up. But I never knew what that meant”
Then Mike met his future wife, and when they got serious they decided they probably needed God in their relationship if it was going to last. Mike did not want to repeat his past.
“I didn’t want to screw it up and with my past you know I could have screwed it up pretty easy. And so I didn’t want to go that route again. I knew there had to be something, a much better way of doing it.”
Mike married his beautiful new bride and they started going to church and learning about God.
And then Mike and his new wife, Mavis, discovered that her son was addicted to cocaine and they began investigating recovery programs.
He went into rehab and they were told to take him to a program called “Celebrate Recovery”.
They went to “Celebrate Recovery” and that’s where Mike and Mavis truly found God’s Grace.
“I saw what God does. I saw miracles. I’ve had people say, ‘God doesn’t do miracles anymore,’ and I just don’t believe that because I see them all the time in Celebrate. I saw miracles left and right. Working the 12 steps has changed my life. They have given me the tools to not only help myself, but also my marriage, my relationships and ultimately the steps have taught me how to help others. As a follower of Jesus, I have now dedicated my life to serving and saving others. My vocation pays the bills, but my life calling is to help people heal and overcome.”
Mike and Mavis, started and our currently the directors of my churches Celebrate Recovery Group.
Mike and Mavis, as volunteers, tirelessly serve our community “comforting others with the same comfort God has given them.”
They are making a significant difference.
We are far more powerful than we realize.
During the last months of WWII, the British conducted daily bombing raids over Berlin.
One night after a successful bombing raid, as they were heading for the safety of England, the bombers were attacked by a large group of German fighter planes.
Five bullets slammed into the fuselage of the bomber near the gas tank, but there was no explosion.
Miraculously, they were able to make it back to their base and get safely off the plane.
A few hours after they had landed, one of the mechanics showed up in the crew’s barracks.
He had found five bullets inside the fuel tanks, crumpled but not exploded. He handed them to the pilot.
The pilot carefully opened the shells and to the crews amazement found each one empty with gunpowder.
Inside one of the bullets was a tiny wad of paper.
When he unfolded the paper, he found a note which read, “We are Polish POWs—forced to make bullets in factory. When guards do not look, we do not fill with powder. Is not much, but is best we can do. Please tell family we are alive.”
When every follower of Jesus lives with the philosophy of “comforting others just as God has comforted them,” no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, then we will see the miracles that we have been praying for.
It may not feel like much, but all God asks is to do the best we can do.
Mike and Mavis could be overwhelmed by the brokenness of addiction all around them, but instead they are offering comfort and hope in seemingly small ways, and yet hundreds have found sobriety and faith because they are simply comforting others with the same comfort God has given them.