Two men made the headlines recently. One was a man whose life looked bright while he was in high school, but then it got derailed by problems with addiction. He ended up in rehab rather than beginning a promising life as a college student. He went through periods of homelessness, anxiety and depression. Finally, he began to realize that maybe his dreams from high school could come true. In high school, he had been one of the highest rated catchers in the nation. He wondered if he might regain his ability to play baseball well. Ten years later, Evan Gattis enjoyed the victory of his team, the now World Champion Houston Astros.
The other man who made the news did not have a happy ending. He had troubles, just as Gattis did. The other man was accused of assaulting his wife and child. He was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force. He could not seem to get his life together nor his relationships with those closest to him. So, in his desperation, Devin Kelley shot many innocent victims at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
I do not know about the religious affiliation of either men. I am aware that at most rehabs for addictions that they follow the Twelve Steps, which is a spiritually based program centered on a Higher Power. Gattis' life shows evidence that he turned his will and his life over to his Higher Power, enabling him to use his God-given gifts in the best possible way. Kelley chose to end his life, and to end the life of others, by a downward spiral in whatever had led to his troubles.
There are times in all of our lives that we are faced with difficulties, sometimes seemingly insurmountable ones. We are faced with a choice as to which way we will turn. Will we go the way of life and peace or will we go the path of destruction and despair? During those times, may we turn our will and our life over to God to guide us. It may mean that we end up at a rehab facility or a counselor's office or even a church, but may we head on the path that leads to life and the newness of life.