a l i v e

2 Corinthians 5: 17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

My brother is an alcoholic. If you don’t know his backstory, about a year ago, he spent some time in jail for a bad choice that was a long going series of bad choices. We knew it would happen eventually if he continued on the path he was going. When it happened, my family and I were disappointed, but not surprised. He had been to jail before, but this time he wasnt getting out the next morning. He missed Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it was a hard season to be in. However, this was just the beginning of God beginning to reveal himself to us about who He is.

When he got out of jail, he went to the state department of mental health to attend rehab. This is where he first identified himself as an alcoholic. They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. This in an of itself seemed like a miracle.

After he got out of there, we were already beginning to see a change in him.

The biggest change started when he moved into a rescue mission in North Carolina. It’s a total of a year long program, and the distance is hard, but it’s the best thing that ever could have happened to him.

Moral of the backstory: he should be dead. In every way possible. He should have died in a car accident, or been killed by someone else. We thought he might kill himself, we thought he might overdose. In so many ways, it is by the grace of God that he is still breathing.

BUT, He isn’t just physically alive, he has been made a new creation in Christ. Simply put, he is a new person. The old Tristan has passed away, and a new Tristan has been brought forth. Jesus has become the center of his life. I’ve never seen him so loving and caring towards other people. He has compassion for people who are nothing like him. He has the heart of a servant, giving to other people and taking care of them. This is the biggest evidence I’ve ever seen of a complete heart transformation.

It brings me to tears to see where he was and where he is going now. The Lord has had mercy on his soul, and has brought him from the depths of his brokenness. He sees people suffering and he wants to help them, but it also makes him lift his hands and praise the Lord for the ways that he has protected him. He knows how much worse he could be. The other men in the rescue mission have lost everything. They’ve lost their jobs, all of their money, their families, and have lost many years of their lives trying to run from something. He sees that he’s young, he still has a family around him that loves him and cares for him and visits him when they can.

People are constantly asking me how he is. All I can say is “good,” because I’m truly in awe of his new life that I cannot put into words how incredible he is doing. He doesnt always have a perfect day, but none of us do. But he’s living and walking with Jesus daily. He’s worshipping a God he doubted existed yesterday. He is walking evidence of the heart change produced by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

God is constantly revealing himself to all of us. He’s taught everyone something in this entire process, which of course is what He meant to do. It’s just funny that we never see if while it’s happening. We’ve all learned a little patience because it took us years and years to get here. But mostly, God has showed us that he is faithful and that he hears us cry out to him. Things are in HIS timing and sometimes we dont understand why it takes so long for something to happen. We get worn down when we feel like our prayers aren’t being answered, but I think that if God would have fixed the problem immediately, we would have taken it for granted and we wouldn’t be standing in awe of how GOOD he is, how much he LOVES us, how He surrounds us with himself and never leaves us alone. How he can heal relationships, and broken hearts. I mean, He had to give our hearts time to be broken so He could heal them, right? Jesus was raised to life so that we could live in Him forever, despite the brokenness that surrounds us, for us to have peace in knowing that He will take care of it, because he has already won. He said, “I win, the battle is over. It is finished.”

I stand in awe of the God I serve. He is so good and I hope I never grown numb to the beauty of his grace and the greatness of his faithfulness. I hope I never grow used to the idea of Jesus being on a cross and I hope never take for granted the moments that God is making me wait. And I hope I never get over the awe I feel because He gave his life for mine.