The World Needs a Refuge
A few houses up the road from me is a local “rum shop.” These are small stores that sell things like chicken, or daily necessities, and of course rum! Some individuals spend much of the day relaxing there with friends.
Though I don’t drink for any reason, I’ll occasionally visit the shop to visit the friends. There have also been times when I did counseling or even a Bible study there.
Recently a friend came and told me the Lord wanted him to stop drinking and smoking (he is especially addicted to cigarettes).
After congratulating him on the commitment and praying with my friend, I encouraged him to take an incredibly difficult step….
He had to leave the rum shop.
What made this so difficult is this step had an emotional challenge as well as physical since all of his friends were at the rum shop. Also this place was a part of his habits since he was used to going there after work.
It was actually possible for my friend to go to the rum shop and not drink or smoke. Especially if he told all of his friends that he’d stop doing both! However, eventually his willpower would wear down, and in a stressful moment he would fall back into the habit of getting a cigarette.
This is why he needs a refuge.
Recently I started making plans for a friend to make a large wooden table in my back yard with benches. This area will eventually become a refuge for those who want to escape the influence of things such as rum and cigarettes, as well as the music or profanity often heard there. Of course things like counseling and Bible studies can take place there, but in the beginning it’s just a place of peace.
Everyone gets stressed out sometimes…..
And where we go in that moment of stress makes all of the difference
The Lord has reminded me while working on the refuge about how many men in this community struggle with addiction to rum, cigarettes, or another substance
- how many are at the rum shop every day
- How many would rather work for a shot of rum than money
- How many spend every last dollar on alcohol, and run up a huge bill
- How many simply want to forget their pain
Yes I could look them in the eyes and say “don’t drink!” but that does little good when they are stressed, and there’s nowhere to go but the shop.
Please pray for me as I build this refuge. May the table be filled with men who choose community and Christ over a bottle.