Ever since I can remember, I wanted to own a ’56 cherry red Chevy Bel Air with whitewall tires. I saw one at a car show and knew God designed that car for me! On my 7th birthday I received a car model kit of my coveted Chevy. The picture on the box portrayed the exact image I knew I would be driving one day. With great excitement, I could barely wait until the birthday party was over before I cleared off a workspace on Mom’s kitchen table and began carefully following instructions to build my masterpiece. I glued and snapped axles, engine, seats and body panels together with precision until all that remained was to attach the wheels. To my deep chagrin, I only found three wheels in the box! Sadly, I pressed the wheels in place. Turning the one-wheeled side toward the wall, I placed the car on display in my room. No one could tell that this bright red dream of mine was missing something. But I knew.
This model car reminds me of a terrible story I read in the Bible. There were two daughters living in a cave with their Father, Lot. The recent destruction of their city, family and home had left them in a state of confusion and despair. The daughters began to fear that, in this cave, they would never marry and have children. So, they devised a plan to get their Dad drunk and rape him. The oldest daughter went first. Her plan succeeded and the next morning she convinced the younger daughter to do the same. So, the next night they got their Father drunk and the younger daughter raped her father also. The Bible says Lot was so drunk each night that he did not know when the girls came to bed or when they left. Both daughters became pregnant with baby boys. Now, Lot was a nephew of Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. The sons of Lot’s two daughters grew to become the founders of two tribes that were constant enemies of the Jewish people for generations to come.
Whoa! Ok! So, what does a ’56 Chevy Bel Air model have to do with drunken incestuous rape? Answer: misguided search for redemption.
Allow me to explain. Just like us, the model car was not designed to be incomplete. A full set of perfectly designed parts existed. A perfect plan for packaging them and flawless instructions were provided. God lovingly made mankind in His image with no flaws and gave us clear instructions on how to thrive, become all that He designed us to be by seeking God’s heart and God’s ways. (Genesis 1:26-27 & Acts 17:26-27). Unfortunately, something went wrong at the model car factory causing that 4th wheel to not be inserted in the packaging. Similarly, mankind chose to go the wrong way, the key word here is “chose.” We have all chosen to go our way instead of God’s way. Because of this, like my model car kit, there is something missing from our lives (Isaiah 64:3 & Romans 3:10-11).
Lot and his daughters were designed to seek the Lord and His ways, the car model was designed to roll and look nice. These are both good pursuits. I tried replacing the missing wheel with a roll of tape, a wheel from another model and other things. No matter what I tried, it did not look right or roll correctly. Similarly, Lot’s daughters placed their significance in their ability to have children instead of seeking the Lord. Trying to find significance in the wrong thing led them to terrible decisions which affected their family for generations. Likewise, Lot should have been leading his daughters to seek the Lord for answers and purpose. Instead he chose to escape his difficult situation by drowning himself in booze.
Our misguided quest to find this lost purpose, this “missing piece”, often leads us to many poor choices. In good times we praise the wrongs things, in idle times we engage in detrimental entertainment, in difficult times we choose wrong answers. There are many directions we could go with this discussion, but we want to specifically and briefly highlight the role of dope and booze in these poor choices (please contact us for a more in-depth discussion document on a Biblical perspective of drugs and alcohol).
Rebellion, avoiding pain, over-celebration, peer pressure, curiosity and addiction cover most of the reasons people choose to abuse drugs and alcohol. The key word here is abuse. The Latin prefix “ab” meaning wrongly. So, to abuse something is to wrongly use it (think of the word ab-normal). Trying to find purpose in life or avoid pain by abusing these substances always fails to deliver lasting purpose and peace; additionally, these substances are destructive.
Certainly, there are appropriate ways to use legal prescription drugs. And we grant that there are instances where the Bible speaks favorably of alcohol. But let us not stray from the point. The Lord looks at the heart. If the use of these substances is pushing you further from the Lord then it is abuse, and it is destructive for you socially, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. How many people do you know that have ruined their lives, families, friendships, jobs and marriages because of abusing drugs and alcohol? This is obviously not what God desires for us!
We must understand the Lord desires our best life. The model car manufacturer did not design their ’56 Chevy Bel Air model hoping it would be missing a piece. God did not design Lot and his daughters hoping they would make those awful choices. No! And God designed us to be more than just good people. He designed us to be powerful, wise, peaceful, righteous, heirs of God and much more! The only way that we can get back on the right path, God’s path, is to regain righteousness. But our bad choices have made that impossible to do by our own strength.
Thankfully, God is merciful and loving. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to walk out this life perfectly, willingly limiting Himself to a human body. Jesus never strayed from His Father’s path and this made him the only human candidate qualified to pay the price that none of us could pay. Our rebellion carries with it the penalty of death (Genesis 2:16-17, Romans 6:23). Jesus paid our debt when He died on the cross and then rose from the grave three days later, proving He was God. Believing in this truth is the only way to return to the path God desires for you. Trusting in this truth is the only way to actually walk the path.
So, do not let your potential be sucked dry by abusing drugs and alcohol. As we stray from purity, we stray from the power God wants us to have. Don’t be like Lot and his daughters, looking to the wrong things to find purpose or numb your pain. Don’t be like me trying to fit a roll of tape on that beautiful ’56 Chevy model instead of a wheel. Jesus willingly gave up His life so you could choose redemption if you want it. He wants you to be a light for others, to fill your life and others’ lives with Joy, love, strength, courage and adventure. You can be the leader who changes your family, friends, classmates, teammates or others for the better. You can influence those around you to investigate this Jesus, the one who gave everything so that we could be with Him the rest of this life and the next.
Call the model car factory, call the Creator! Tell Him you need the only piece that fits, the only piece that will give you peace. Tell Him you want Jesus! Tell Him you want His instructions and love. Tell Him to send the fourth wheel in the mail, you are tired of that three-wheeled car just looking good on the shelf. Tell Him you want to see that ’56 Chevy roll, baby, roll! Tell Him you choose the only redemption that lasts so you can be the person He created you to be!
(Written by Jeremy Collins, pulling strongly from talks given by John Coonley and Dr. Lucas Butler at our 2019 April Day Camp)