Remember the old Bible story of Jonah and the whale?
God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh, but Jonah balks and runs away, only to end up swallowed by a whale. Jonah prays for help, and God answers by having the whale spit Jonah out … and onto the shores of Nineveh, where he was supposed to be all along.
Emmitt can relate to that. Like Jonah, he tried running from his problems … and from God. And like Jonah, he was swallowed by a great beast — the beast of drug addiction. It started with marijuana, then escalated to crystal meth, and then to MDMA, better known as ecstasy. “Drugs were my way of running from my problems,” Emmitt says. “I never stood up to my problems. I always tried to get away from them.” One of his problems was depression; the drugs were his way of escape.
But drugs also led to poor choices and a lack of responsibility. Emmitt had seven children by several different women, and he never kept a job for long. Emmitt’s family tried to help, but with limited success. Finally, his father told him he had to face his fears. Shortly after that, the beast spit him out … right onto the shores of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission.
At the Mission, Emmitt started attending chapel, where he learned that “God was talking to me. I was so used to running, I had to learn to sit still.” While he’d been running from God, God had been running toward him — much like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son. When the wayward son wises up and heads home, the father “ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). That’s the kind of relentless love Emmitt found at the Mission, where our recovery program helped him address his issues and beat his addictions.
“It feels amazing to be sober,” Emmitt says. “It feels like a gift from God. I’m able to think straight, to focus on what got me through yesterday to let me see tomorrow.” He’s even been able to hold a steady job. Today, Emmitt is running again … but it’s the best kind of running — toward God. It’s the kind of running Paul writes about — running the race of Christian living. “Run to win,” Paul writes (1 Cor. 9:24, The Message).
Emmitt’s running to win these days. And it’s all thanks to friends like you and the help of the Mission. “If it wasn’t for them,” he says, “I’d still be drugging, or in jail or dead.”
Thank you for giving neighbors new life, where people like Emmitt are running the good race. ✞