Jesus and Heroin
“How is your son?”
The question came as a surprise to me. Part of managing someone’s social media, as I do for Steve, means having access to their account and occasionally coming across messages meant to be to them, or from them to others. This helps me to know that people are being responded to promptly, etc.
However, this was a response to a conversation that had ended December of last year. Steve remembered, and was checking in on, the mother of a drug addict who had reached out to him months ago.
Today, in art class, I was surprised again as that same mother stopped by Art for God’s Versailles, Kentucky location to be gifted a large print of Calvary, the piece she had written to Steve about.
Typically, when you think of Christian Art or paintings of Jesus, you don’t think about drugs.
Upon first seeing Calvary nearly everyone has a different response. Depending on your experiences in life, the way you view, what seems to many, like an image of Jesus taking a shot of heroin for a man, could produce a variety of emotions, and Steve has heard them all. The responses have varied from, “F**K off Jesus, get your own heroin,” to several testimonies of people that were nearly in the grave from heroin use who stopped immediately after seeing the painting. The positive responses are something he attributes completely to God and his love for that person, and the negative responses just cause him to sigh.
As I understand it now, the image was intended to represent the identity of the heroin addict. Despite his current circumstance, Jesus lives inside of him, and his current situation acts contrary to his very created nature.
Today I was able to see someone genuinely touched by art. Heroin addiction in Kentucky has reached record numbers. Lives are being lost and destroyed every day because of drug use, and the drug problem in Kentucky is nothing short of an epidemic.
Drug use effects not only the user, but their entire family. And, although Steve has not personally experienced this, his compassion astounded me.
When writing this I went back to read the message he had written to this drug user’s mother when she first reached out.
“The suffering your son endures from addiction; he does not endure alone. Beyond your pain God endures the suffering on an entirely different level of compassion. Even for decisions far less debilitating Jesus still says, “Father forgive him for he knows not what he does.””
I spoke to this mother today, her son has been clean now for 3 months, but she has to take each day for what it is, and be grateful for each day and what it brings. Who knows what tomorrow will hold, but she is grateful for today.
It was once easy to assume that drug addiction only affected a small percent of the population, but the recent heroin crisis in Kentucky has proven this theory wrong. However, God is with all of us, in everything, Not only does he not leave us, he is in us, even in the midst of darkness.