From the September/October 2019 issue of Discern Magazine

Learning to Live Again

For many who are caught in the consequences of bad life choices, tomorrow seems to have no hope. But God will fulfill His promise to give everyone a chance for an abundant life!

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Too many people today have no hope. Many are trapped in virtual slavery to drugs, crime, gangs and terrorist groups.

Consider these heart-wrenching stories.

Caught in the slavery of substance abuse

In a BBC documentary “The Rise of Fentanyl,” a young woman named Anna describes living in the full grip of her addiction to opioids.

“I don’t know how to live in any other way no more. Am I wrong? Like, we don’t know what else to do, do you understand? Like, when people break their arm and legs, they need rehab to walk. Like, we need rehab to learn how to live, like all over again.”

Alex, aged 48, laments how his life is now such “a waste,” and he wouldn’t wish it on his worst enemies. He takes fentanyl six times a day just to function and says that without it he gets sick. He wishes he could beat the addiction and go back to being “a good son, a good brother, a good father.”

The documentary ends on a sad note. Fentanyl has escalated the drug crisis to a whole new level. This synthetic opioid is about 50 times stronger than heroin, and it has caused a rapid increase in overdose deaths, including 72,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2017 alone.

But the documentary also shows two others, Brittney and Steve, who have gone into rehab to beat their addictions.

Brittney vows that she will overcome her addiction. She is determined not to die from the drugs so she can live for her daughter.

Steve confesses that the heroin took control of him. It took everything from him and made him do things he normally wouldn’t have done.

Both Brittney and Steve are now striving to live their lives without being controlled by drugs—learning to live again.Both Brittney and Steve are now striving to live their lives without being controlled by drugs—learning to live again.

Caught in the slavery of terrorism

Halima had a good childhood and loved life. But at the young age of 14 she was married off. Her husband was a member of the terror group Boko Haram, which means “Western or non-Islamic education is a sin.” Boko Haram promised people a better life by eradicating corruption and establishing a pure Islamic state in northern Nigeria. The terror group has been responsible for killing 27,000 and displacing 1.8 million.

Halima had to accompany her husband to the Boko Haram camps. She experienced thirst and hunger and saw newborns die from the terrible conditions. After several failed escapes, she was threatened, “If you flee again, we’ll slaughter you like an animal.”

The last time she left the camp, she and six others were being forced to be suicide bombers with a mission to kill as many people as possible at a market in Chad. She hoped she could use the opportunity to escape, but they had drugged her, making her only half aware of what was going on.

Instead of dying that day, she was saved by the villagers she was sent to kill. However, the explosion left her without legs, so now at the age of 20 she walks with prosthetics and is in the process of learning to live again.

Caught in the slavery of crime

Those who spend time in the prison system for crimes they committed often want to start over but don’t know how. When some prisoners are released, they have little money and just the clothes on their back. They can feel overwhelmed even by mundane tasks such as making a call on a smartphone. After years in prison, they simply don’t know how to do things those on the outside now take for granted.

Many return to crime and end up back in prison, the only environment where they know how to function.

Some prisons have begun programs to help prisoners reenter society. Released prisoners get help to be able to overcome hurdles and function, find work, get health treatments, establish ties with family and friends and ultimately learn to be law-abiding citizens without need of supervision.

One prison found that those who got a college education in prison rarely ended up in prison again. They are learning to live again.

Tomorrow is a promise

At the end of the BBC documentary Anna was asked what she would like to say to her mother. Fighting back her tears, she said she was sorry and that “tomorrow is not a promise for her or for me.”

Sadly, for many caught in the slavery of bad life choices, tomorrow seems to give no hope.

Yet despite all the hopeless situations we see today, Jesus Christ came to give us life. He said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Addiction, terrorism, crime and many other vices are like thieves that offer only false hope. They steal people’s lives away and rob them of their humanity, their relationships, their ability to succeed and function, their time, their joy and their hope.

A chance for those who have never had a chance

Christ came to enable His disciples to overcome this world and provide real hope for this life and the next. (For more on hope for this life, see “Hope for the Hopeless” and Change Your Life!)

The Bible reveals that those who have not known how to live the right way in this life will be given the opportunity to live again. This will not be a second chance for salvation, as we are told that we each will have only one chance for salvation (Hebrews 6:4-6). But it will be a second chance for life for those who never were called to understand God’s way in this life (John 6:44).

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).They will be resurrected to stand before the “great white throne” in this second resurrection of human beings (the first being when the saints are resurrected at Jesus’ return). At that time, John writes, the “books [will be] opened” to them. This refers to the books of the Bible, as their minds will be opened to understand God’s way (Revelation 20:11-12).

Revelation 20:12 continues, “And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.” This shows God will make eternal life available to all present.

This begins a period of time when they will be judged by what is written in the Bible—the way of life that God prescribes that brings joy and hope. This period of judgment is similar to the judgment that God is conducting on His Church today (1 Peter 4:17). Throughout their lives, Christians prove that they are faithful followers of Christ. In the second resurrection, the difference will be that Satan’s influence will be removed. He will no longer be able to deceive the nations (Revelation 20:10).

It will be a period of time when drugs, terrorism, crime and many such vices will be things of the past.

Hope for the future

The Bible reveals tremendous hope for the future when all people will learn to live again—the right way.

  • All shall know God: As successful prison rehabilitation programs include education, so, too, will education be a key focus in the Kingdom of God. The saints in the first resurrection will become kings and priests on the earth and will help teach people the right way to live according to God’s laws (Revelation 5:10; 20:6; Isaiah 30:20-21). Eventually everyone will have a deep understanding of God and what He desires from us. God will forgive our sins, and there will be great joy (Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34; Zechariah 8:4-5).
  • Violence will be no more: Wars will become a thing of the past, and Christ Himself will judge the nations (Micah 4:3). Even the violent natures of animals will be tamed (Isaiah 11:6-8). Satan, the one responsible for inspiring the terrorism and wars we see today, will no longer be around to influence mankind (Revelation 20:1-3, 10).
  • Peace and righteousness will reign: Jesus is returning to set up a government, the Kingdom of God. This is the good news that He came to preach, and it’s a message that runs through the Bible (Mark 1:14-15; Hebrews 11:13-16; Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 7:27). He was born to be a king (John 18:37), and when the righteous are in authority, the people will be happy (Proverbs 29:2). This new government will usher in a period of peace and happiness that will have no end.

A wonderful time is coming! As the apostle John records near the end of the Bible, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Learn more about that utopian world in our free booklet The Mystery of the Kingdom. And study more about the changes to the human heart that will make peace possible in our booklet Change Your Life!

About the Author

Isaac Khalil

Isaac Khalil

Isaac Khalil is husband to his lovely wife, Natasha, and father to son, Eli and daughter, Abigal. He loves to spend time with family and friends doing various things like watching movies, playing chess, playing board games and going out. He enjoys studying biblical topics and discussing the Bible with his friends. He is also a news junkie and is constantly reading and sharing news connected with Bible prophecy.

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