Sometimes it is just hard to face life. We want to run from hurt or pain. If we can't run from it, we want to mask it or cover it up. Some do this chemically – pain pills, alcohol, weed, food, self-medicating with substances that temporarily replace the yucky feelings with good ones. Others run from it by substituting their focus with something else – hard work, internet surfing, materialism, social media likes/approvals, status, evading the pain by burying it with action. But when we do these things, we isolate ourselves; and we fail to hear the still small voice.
When I picked up Seth Haines’s book Coming Clean: A Story of Faith, I was not sure if it was the season to read it, but it was next on my list. I was sitting in the hospital with my husband who was recovering from surgery and just diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. What interest could I find in a book about an alcoholic Christian, church leader, devoted father and husband on the search of sobriety?
But what kept me reading was the pain that Seth Haines felt during a time of life when his two-year-old son was hospitalized and might not live. It was also during a time when he realized he had used alcohol as a balm to soothe him where God was not. Writing in the style of a journal, he chronicled his path to sobriety over a period of several months. He reached back to pain that stemmed from his childhood with a faith healer that failed him and how that experience had infected him and his faith now. By facing the pain, digging into it and not covering it up and isolating himself, he found a new faith and a community that gave him strength.
For me, this was more than a story of struggling with alcoholism and sobriety. It was a peek into another one’s life who struggles with the issues of healing and faith. I could relate to the unhelpful things that people say and find the grace to forgive them in it. I understood the desire to isolate oneself and could relate to wanting to cover up pain. He showed me ways that we tend to run from pain, and how instead, we can let Jesus meet us there.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan Publishing in exchange for my honest review.