The Unwelcome Guest

 First rays of the summer sun

 race to illuminate the small

grove. Its inhabitants awake

without complaint.

The grove was abundant in food

peace and safety. The only

other occupant was

an old country church patiently

awaiting its fold.

Blue birds filled the air


songs of praise.

A sound so pure and clear,

a melody worthy of the Creator’s ear.

The sun climbed ever higher

casting a shadow upon

 the man turning the key

opening the large doors of

the chapel.

He always arrived an hour

or two before any other filled

a pew.

Time to reflect, time

 to pray, time to ask

for wisdom, patience, and

feet of clay.

“Lord Jesus, lend me

your eyes that I might

see this flock as you do.

Give me your heart to

love all whom you send

my way and a discerning

mind that wisdom would flow, Amen.”

Standing and grasping his Bible

he started toward the sanctuary

as muffled voices and distant

car doors announced the

arrival of the congregation.

The Pastor knew he would

be here and there was nothing

he could do because the

unwelcomed guest

always received an

invitation from me

and from you.

He would sit in the

very front row knowing

every word of scripture

but not letting it show.

He wasn’t there to learn,

fellowship, or become

more like the Savior. No,

none of those things is

what he did savor.

The Pastor sighed deeply

upon stepping to the pulpit

as he recognized their guest

was already working the room.

The people were settled into their

familiar clicks. The poor sat in the far rear

while the affluent took the lead.

 But none sat next to the family

 who lived without running water,

Their respectable senses

were aghast.

Tongue clicks and whispers veiled under breath

spread disdain and disgust in the

presence of such an obvious


Over there perched the family of judges,

who would snicker and point with their eyes

to alert one another that there was laughter to be had

or condemnation to be made of those just entering

the sanctuary.

The Bennet family, fragile as can be,

sat holding one another in their

fear and in their grief. They had lost a son

in Iraq last summer and now their little one

is fighting cancer. Their faith is stretched thin but

they have not given up hope. Our Guest is

trying his best to destroy them but he is failing.

Then you have those who feel it

their duty to reveal your sin, criticize

your worship or prayer life, and condemn

those who are struggling.

 In their reason,

 one is sick, barren, in

financial woe or experiencing

heart ache due to some unconfessed


 “Get right with God and your

hardship will be delivered.” is the chant

they cry in disapproving condemnation.

Driving divisions among God’s people

is his favorite activity and we are

so willing to play.

Yes, he is here and they invited him

as they do regardless of the warnings.

He knows the Bible better than most

Christians but he does not see its truth.

His hardened heart does not feel

the forgiving love of Christ.

Instead, it angers him and

he takes his fury out upon

the flock.

“They have more than us. She is far prettier or talented

than I. I heard…cheated on his wife. God cannot

love or forgive you since you did that horrible

thing in your past. You are not good enough to succeed. Your

beliefs are childish superstitions. You will fail.”

Lies, his favorite lies, he uses against

the flock.

He has enjoyed great success in

invading the church and scattering the flock.

His minions carry out his orders sewing

discord, jealousy, bigotry, hatred, and

cynicism where ever they go.

Church after church has fallen to his


He is becoming angrier

and fiercer as he

sees his time ebbing away.

He tortures any who work

to follow the Savior’s path.

Yes, Satan is the first one in church

and the last one to leave because turning

one Christian to sin bringing him to ruin

will convince 1000 more souls to reject

Jesus because of his sinful people.

Satan loves to use fallen Christians because

it hurts the Father deeply when his children stray.

He will never give up, never stop, and never

show mercy.

Children of God, take warning and

be on guard so you do not

become one of Satan’s favorite tools.

In a world of pain and destruction,

be determined not to add to the

brokenness of Creation.

Instead, build…repair…create

and healing will be had in your church,

home, work place, social group, neighborhood

and maybe, just maybe, it will keep going and

heal our lands.



“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray then I shall hear from heaven and heal their lands.” God


Acrid, dense smoke pierced

eyes swollen from exhaustion.

Each breath burned like fire and

took twice as much effort to push

in and out of the body.

Another battle won, yet

victory is not

as sweet as when younger

lips enjoyed it.

Still victory was had.

Looking to the left…darkness

to the right…darkness


How can we take it?

The Dark One does not rest.

He revels in our weakness

using it to pull us away

from our Savior.

The battles weaken us and

He moves in to tempt

showing us the easy path

to take.

Clever to be sure,

 his generosity

is abundant.

Humans cannot resist

for they are weak in their

own strength.

Truths spin through her

mind trying to find root.

Exhaustion and pain make it

difficult for them to find purchase.

“Not more than you can handle…”

“Will not be tempted…”

“Plans to prosper you…”

What is the rest? Why can’t I

remember? So much Evil,

everywhere. Why do they keep

hurting each other? How can you

stand it? How can we

cope? Crumpling to the ground

gasping for clean air, choking sobs

wrack her weakened frame.

Every cell stretch in painful


A battle weary mind and

body, asked to rise and rally

once too often, is ready for rest.

What little strength remained

ebbed slowly from her

as the darkness encroached.

A faint, distant odor caught her attention.

What is that?

Wiping sore eyes, clearing her head,

she inhaled deeply, trying to identify the smell.

She did not choke or sputter; instead, she

exhaled fully expelling the toxic smoke she had

grown accustomed too then inhaled more deeply

than before.

Her scorched lungs and gritty eyes

drank in the sweet,

 moist air usually

experienced after a summer


The darkness receded as a

wisp of pure white mist rode

atop the brackish stream.

In its wake, shimmering waters

clear as crystal flowed toward her.

The view was narrow,

as if looking through

a door only cracked open

a tiny smidgen. Like a child

spying on their parents on

Christmas Eve, she was transfixed.

It was a sliver of Paradise.

A glimpse of Eternity.

The way Creation was intended.

She commanded her senses to

absorbed everything.

Grass as green as emeralds,

grand oaks drinking at the water’s edge,

and flowers of every hue

 danced along the stream’s reach.

Hummingbirds flittered, effortlessly,

from bloom to bloom stealing nectar.

The canopy was alive with the

harmony of every songbird.

Fur covered animals scurried

about with their daily activities.

The sky was so blue, it was almost

painful to look upon.

Every kind of created thing

was living together and no

conflict existed.

She remembered.

She remembered and felt every

single promise strengthen her.

Struggling to her feet,

she stood firm.

Resolute in her determination

and conviction to fulfill her

purpose knowing the

war’s end had already been decided.

The battles of life were fought

by Christ’s warriors if they

choose to fight against the Dark


She remembered, she did not have

to win the war. She just needed to keep fighting the

battles to help others find the Savior’s loving embrace.

One lost child breaks our Savior’s heart so we must work

diligently and write His promises upon our hearts.

“You shall not be given more

than you can handle…with My help.”

“I will not allow you to be tempted

beyond your ability to resist. I will always

give you a way to resist the temptation.”

“My plans are to prosper you…Not to harm you.”

“Yes, I can do all things through

Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Addicts, Chronic Pain, and Scapegoats

Tina Blackledge

July 13, 2016

            As humans we look for people with similar characteristics then we proceed to group, sub-group, label and characterize all the bad traits of a few errant members and then deem the entire group as “crack heads”. Although this can describe any number of human interactions within our decaying society, the one I speak of is access to prescription pain medication. The government uses doctors as scapegoats blaming them for the high addiction rates to not only prescription pain killers but also to the slide of the addict into heroin, crack, and other drugs.

Does a problem exist? Of course, but the blame cannot rest upon the shoulders of one profession because this country’s slip into a mind numbing state of being did not start with the doctor’s prescription pad.  The government and some unscrupulous lawyers are trying to convince the public of the doctor’s malicious intent to numb America and lead us down the path of addiction. After all, someone has to be held responsible and God forbid it be the person committing the crime.  The public buys into it due to the big paydays promised  to “victims” of doctors whose fault it is that they are addicted. Likewise, there is no  “patient zero” identified who started us on this slippery slope.  The problem of drug addiction has been around shortly after humanity walked the earth escalating ever further as time progressed. Humanity found ways to warp creation for their own pleasures and so corrupt the original intent of the natural sources of pain relief.  In the modern era, it is all about making money and there are far too many politicians who have a vested interest in the pharmaceutical companies to reverse the trend of over prescribing all medications. Therefore, folks who have real ailments that cause unimaginable pain and suffering are lumped in with the addicts. We are all painted with the same brush by the unscrupulous and the ignorant.

Pain relief means nothing to those who have never experienced chronic, progressive pain every moment of every day. Hence, these folks cannot imagine needing anything more than an aspirin to take care of some aches and pains.  These same folks push their social reform agendas that sweep anyone who uses pain killers into one big messy tangle. I know this first  with my own ailments and second hand by watching my mother suffer and die. The logic they are using is inherently flawed because they are going after the medical profession. Those in the medical community who are abusing the system to make money know how to avoid detection and those doctors who are honest and want to help their patients are too afraid to offer the help by prescribing pain medication. The government has put the doctor’s medical license on the chopping block if their strict regulations are not adhered too. Guess who pays the ultimate price for this narrow minded, blind approach? Its certainly not those who are addicted because an addict would sell their own mother for their next fix so they will get it no matter what.  No, it is the genuine suffering patient with a legitimate ailment that is being hurt, literally.

Yet, it is not only physical suffering we must endure. Since all patients dealing with chronic pain are referred to the “pain clinic” They are lumped together with folks who have a history of abusing the medication. We are treated like criminals, we must pee in a cup, have our pills counted and adhere to strict rules. It doesn’t matter if you have a legitimate ailment or not because everyone is treated the same as if they just got out of rehab and are trying to stay clean. It is degrading and outrageous. I have never had a drug or alcohol problem in my entire life but that did not matter. It also matters not, that I have a proven ailment that causes severe debilitating pain and deterioration. It does not matter if I had multiple medical records from the age of five up, including imaging that showed the advanced deterioration of every joint in my body and every vertebrae. Nope, none of that mattered. I went to a pain clinic when my specialist referred her pain management patients out to the clinic to avoid being pulled into the quagmire of drug abuse.

Immediately, you are treated like a drug addict. The personnel are curt and matter of fact devoid of all compassion. To them, you are just another crack head who is going to lie to get the drug. Then you must be humiliated by peeing in a cup every month to make sure you aren’t selling your pills or taking too many.  In the meantime, they are constantly judging you and treating you as if you are an ignorant child who needs to be policed or parented. The entire experience was degrading and ridiculous but that is not where the absurdity ends when pain killers are involved.  I personally know several individuals who have had to endure major joint replacement surgery with a severely limited supply of pain killers. This is not for the benefit of the patient but for the doctor who does not want to be accused of trafficking or over prescribing pain medication. Worse, are the doctors who limit the pain killers to patients who are dying touting that they do not want the person to become addicted! Really? The person is dying so who cares if they will become addicted to the stupid pill? Things need to be changed because those who need the help are not receiving it and those who do not are getting their drugs anyway. Rules, regulations, and laws never affect the crime statistics because those who were breaking the law are going to continue to break the law. The only thing they do is make it that much harder for the legitimate patient to get the help they need.

Some readers may be sitting there thinking that I am just another crack head upset about not getting a fix and I cannot change your mind because you are part of the problem. I am living my life without pain relief and the Lord is keeping me going and I greatly appreciate that but that does not lessen the culpability of the citizen, who is very eager to stigmatize a group of people who they see as responsible for destroying American society. A scapegoat is being sought and the doctors are just a patsy but the real villains are those profiting off the entire realm of drugs whether they are legitimate or not. The victims are those who are suffering at a level no one could possibly understand or handle unless they have felt the same for multiple years with no end in sight. We need a better system because millions of people are considering suicide as a valid option. There comes a point that you will do anything to end the suffering especially when you know there isn’t a human alive willing to help you. As a result, many people seek relief in other venues like the illegal drug trade, alcohol or death. Good people, who have likely worked their entire life, contributed to society and the tax base now to be abandoned in their darkest hour becoming what they were initially accused of being because they feel that making a deal with the devil is preferable to the pain caused “helping professions”.

One possible idea is to have two different types of pain clinics, one for former addicts and one for legitimate, confirmed chronic pain suffering patients. Since the care and perspective between these two cohorts should be vastly different, the care plan should match that difference. People who suffer chronically battle depression and a feeling of hopelessness. I have my faith to sustain me but there are days that are very low indeed because when every waking moment has always meant pain and your ailment robs you of sleep then the days become nights then weeks, months, years in which you sleep little and have plenty of waking moments to think, pray and suffer.  You know the severe future that awaits you unless you are willing to break the law, become an alcoholic, or just move into increasingly dark levels of pain and suffering until you finally die in horrendous agony. Suffering may be a foreign concept to you as you have never been sick a day in your life or had a loved one decay and die in agony but hundreds of thousands of people know all too well. We know that it is a victory to get out of bed, get dressed, and make yourself some breakfast. Your life choices consist of going grocery shopping or washing clothes. Playing with your kids or being able to walk upstairs at the end of the day. A day you didn’t break down is a victory and week without tears is a party.

The drug addiction problem is multifaceted so the solution must be as well. One thing that must be corrected is for the sufferers and the helpers/protectors to get on the same page. I think we (the chronically ill)are considered an acceptable casualty of the war on drugs. I disagree. Educate yourself before judging and then try suffering the ailment before you utter your opinion. If you do not possess compassion then you will be taught it and only way to learn that lessen is through suffering. Be careful who you condemn because you never know how the Lord will choose to teach you compassion.