Although she wrote it in a novel, author Lisa Unger succinctly explained a difficult concept.

 “Quantum physics tells us that life is a series of possibilities existing side by side in any given moment; it is our choices that create our reality.”

Nothing has made that clearer to me than seeing men in rehab. The choice to use drugs or alcohol results in a person totally different than the one who emerges as that choice is changed.

Mancillas and José

Mancillas and José

Mancillas, now sixty-two, started drinking and smoking when he was twelve. At fourteen he added heroin to the mix and was its slave for forty years!

“My mom would hit me when I came home drunk so I ran away. I lived in the streets, in one rehab after another and back to the streets.”

“How many rehab centers have you been in?”

He thought long.

“El Shaddai, San Diego, The Crash (not kidding on the name), Strong Tower, SIDAD, Solo Por Hoy (“Only for Today.” Who the heck would name a rehab center that?), four months in jail, La Esperanza, Pan de Vida, El Sembrador, El Shaddai, Tijuana, Edificando Para Cristo, plus six suicide attempts.”

 “I never really opened my heart to God until now. In Esperanza we went to chapel three times a day but there were too many people. My mind was always elsewhere.”

“And now?”

“Here, God’s finally reached me. I pray and fast every morning and read the Bible; no going back - I like it here. Enrique’s a good pastor and I’m ready for a new life!”

“When I read about people wandering through the desert in the Bible, I think of forty years injecting myself. That was my desert!”

I turned to José, a twenty-four year old recovering from crystal meth addiction.

“Hear that, José? Forty years and ten different rehabs! Don’t you do that!”

He shook his head.

“No way! This is my first and last rehab.”

He began with marijuana, beer, and occasional cocaine. At twenty-one, he was working far from home and missing his wife and son. Some co-workers had an apartment and he moved in. They all used crystal.

“I started using meth to fill the emptiness I felt.”

“How’d that work for you?”

We both laughed.

“For a short while, better, then way worse.”

“Did you ever try to stop?”

“A hundred times! The best I did was five to seven days. Every other drug I could handle, like marijuana. My father always told me I was stupid, worthless, good for nothing. When I smoked pot his insults went in one ear and out the other. But on crystal I lost control. It lost its pleasure but I couldn’t stop. In desperation I started reading the Bible, listening to Christian music, and going to A.A. and N.A., but even after I believed in God, things would improve briefly but I kept going back and using.”

“At twelve I tried to kill myself. My father had a gun under his bed. I held it up to my temple (demonstrated using his finger as a pistol.) Then I thought, that’ll hurt. So I switched it to here (moving his finger to middle of his forehead.) But I thought, that’ll hurt, too! I remembered in movies they put it inside their mouth so I did that.”

 He opened his mouth and inserted his forefinger pointing upwards toward the roof.

“That’s when I heard a voice, like an echo, in my left ear.

“No, don’t! You’re going to be intelligent!”

“It was the exact opposite of what my father always said and I knew it was God. I dropped the gun.”

“The key is prayer,” José said of his current success. “I pray a lot now. It feels good, like God is present and changing me. I’m learning new things and I know that’s what God meant when He told me I was going to be intelligent.”

José with his sons

José with his sons

Not everyone is a poster child poster child. Luis and his older brother, Macrino, both suffered horrible abuse by their father.

“He beat us, yelled all the time and insulted us!” Luis told Enrique. “He never showed us love!”

The troubled man only started drinking heavily in recent months but his social skills were barely human. He slept on the floor, rarely bathed, and shunned friendships and romance.

Yet Macrino told us, “I was worse than him until Jesus changed me!”

The caring older brother convinced Luis to enter rehab and we quickly grew to love him. He was humble, pleasant, and worked without ceasing. But after two weeks, he told Enrique, “I’ll be leaving soon. I’m done with drinking and to be honest, I feel uncomfortable here!”

What he said next was hard to fathom.

“Pastor, you’ve been very good to me, but I don’t feel comfortable eating good food or sleeping in a bed!” (Enrique found him early one morning sound asleep on the ground outside where he’d spent the night.)

“I’m not interested in the things of God and I don’t like being hugged or having people say nice things to me or celebrating someone’s birthday. Ya me voy!” (I’m out of here!)

            Next day, Luis left and took a piece of everyone’s heart with him. The man simply has no idea how lovable he is! However, he did show up to our Sunday morning prayer service, lifting his hands with what only could be described as adoration on his face. We keep him in our prayers.

Ernesto with family

Ernesto with family

            Finally, Ernesto, the oldest of the men at seventy-one, was a severe alcoholic for many years. His sons asked him to accept help, and to please them, he agreed to fourteen days. Sullen and stone-faced in church, he wore the same tattered clothes for days and constantly begged for Tequila.

            Then, one day, it was like God touched him with a magic wand and a new Ernesto appeared! He smiled a lot, chatted with others, and took over as chef of the center. In short, he’d opened his heart to God!

            “I want to stay,” he told his family when they visited.

““Keep him here as long as he wants!” the sons told Enrique. “He looks great!”

In a quantum world, the wave of all possibilities collapses into a single point of reality as we choose an action. Yet the Bible tells us, “With God, all things are possible.” Always. So, could it be, that whenever we choose to obey God, to submit our will to His, to choose to live in Him, that when we do that, the wave of human possibilities collapses and we enter a new reality, where, with God, new and divine things are possible?

Abraham, called upon by God to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, could have responded in myriad ways. At the moment he was about to plunge his knife into the boy’s heart out of love for God, God made him the Father of our faith. Here’s what He said:

“…because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b]all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.”

That kind of blessing, or the person whom Abraham became, were simply not in the human wave of possibilities.

I don’t mean to get ooey-gooey on you. All I’m saying is that the possibilities of who we can be change when we choose life in God. It blesses Enrique and me every day to see these men, once slaves to drugs, now people who were never possible until they chose eternal life.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Written by  Ellie Goolkasian , TAP Partner

Written by Ellie Goolkasian, TAP Partner