ENID, Okla. —
It’s 3 a.m. Friday morning, I wake to the words “last call.”
I had left my TV on, which is not uncommon. So, I turned it off and rolled over. Suddenly, I was wide awake, I knew the Father-God and I were about to have a little “visit.”
“It’s 3 a.m. Lord, can’t this wait?” “Nope!” He said. “It’s last call!”
It felt like “the ghost of bars past.” At every scene, right in the middle of all the fun, the dance ... when you least expected it, you heard “ast call.”
I’m not going into detail, my friends, and I really don’t care to “air my dirty laundry.” We all have a past, some scarier than others. But, let’s face it, if sin was’t fun, we wouldn’t do it. Some of the best times of my life were on the dance floor of some cowboy club, and believe me, it wasn’t joy that cometh in the morning. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.
I’m not gonna preach you a sermon on “hell fire and damnation.” Been there, done that … all of it! Nobody had to tell me the lifestyle I was living was wrong, I already knew it. Didn’t need to hear it. I just didn’t know how to stop it. The only way I could get past the night before and feel the least bit good about myself, was to return to the foolishness of that atmosphere, and a little bit of the “hair of the dog that bit me.” How does the Bible put it, “Like a dog returning to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.” (Prov. 26:11) Not very pretty, is it?
Between the visions of my pitiful past and hearing those words at 3 a.m., it sobered me up to the fact that it really is “ast call.” And, someone out there needs to hear it. Time’s up, my friend. You get one more drink of choice, one more shot before the lights go on ... and the party is over. Maybe you’ll make it through the night, maybe you won’t. Care to take that chance?
This is not the column I had intended to write, and it certainly isn’t for everyone. But, it’s a column that won’t leave me alone, so it must have someone’s name on it. Someone who needs to hear: “You don’t have to live that way anymore. There is hope!”
I guess you could say I was a borderline alcoholic. I was more addicted to the atmosphere, the dancing, the attention and finally the money I earned in tips as a cocktail waitress during the big oil boom. Oh, I only worked at the high class clubs. Somehow, it made me feel better to know I wasn’t a “bar maid” in some low-life joint. That’s called denial, and I was drowning in it.
Friends, this is one trip down memory lane I don’t care to take. It’s full of guilt and condemnation. It’s not pretty and I am not proud of who I was back then. There was a time I would give you every excuse in the book to justify my actions. I had learned every trick on how to shove all the uglies so far to back of my conscience, I almost didn’t have one. That’s called “the snare of the fowler.” You will find that in Matthew 6:13 of “The Lord's Prayer.”
The good news is ... I don’t live there anymore. “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood, His mercy rains. Unending love, Amazing Grace!” Thank you Michael W. Smith for that wonderful song. It always serves to remind me that I am no longer under condemnation, according to Romans 8:1. No longer does that life, and all the “yuk” that went with ... no longer does it have dominion over me (Romans 6:14). For His mercy, His unending grace and favor are my shield. He is my rock and my fortress, in Whom I trust. Psalm 18 says so much about my life, then and now. Read it … it will bless your heart.
Isaiah 61 is pretty much my life today. It’s definitely my calling. That’s why I write this column. To let you know there is hope. Hope in a God who will rebuild the old ruins of your life, who will “snatch you from the snare of the fowler,” and give you beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that you may be called a tree of righteousness, planted by God Himself. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe (Prov. 18:10).”
Back up to Proverbs 10:22: “The blessing of the Lord maketh one rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.” If that one doesnt do it for you, read Psalm 103. OMG! The benefits! People, the benefits and the promises! God is so good — I promise you. What He did for me, He also will do for you. My life today is so far from my yesterday’s, it’s like another lifetime ago.
God promised me in Jeremiah 24:7, “I will give them a heart to know me, Patsy, to know that I am the Lord,” and He has done just that. My children and their families, all serving God. The gifts and callings on their sweet lives are above and beyond I could ever think or imagine. I am richly blessed. No sorrows here. This is my prayer for you.
Well, you’ve got your homework, so I will leave you with one last food for thought. Psalm 103: 9 is a warning to be heeded, “He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.” It’s last call, my friend. He loves you. One word from God will change your life forever. What are you waiting for?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) It’s that simple!
Keep the faith and worship somewhere today.
If you need counseling there are several places to go for assistance: Emmanual Baptist Church has counseling available; Celebrate Recovering is available at several churches in town including World Harvest; and Making a Difference with Justin Simmons, who can be reached at 233-5900, or go to www.enidmad.org.
Sorrels is News & Eagle editorial assistant and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (580) 548-8140.