Friday, November 10, 2017

Filling The Void

There is a common denominator in people all over this nation and around the world. We have something missing inside. We have a longing for something and we do not even know what it is.

We try to fill it with music, vacations, entertainment, buying things and stuff, work, relationships, alcohol, pills and potions. Yet, the emptiness remains.

I ran across a story a couple of weeks ago about the history of drug use in America and how drugs are affecting people today in the USA. Take a moment to read the next few paragraphs and then I will have a few comments.

"In all my years I've worked in the substance abuse field, I've never had so many patients die," said Joan Hartman, vice president of behavioral health services for Illinois-based Chestnut Health Systems, who has been working in treatment for three decades.There were fewer than 3,000 overdose deaths in 1970, when a heroin epidemic was raging in U.S. cities. There were fewer than 5,000 recorded in 1988, around the height of the crack epidemic.More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, (2016) according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.This is the Link to the story with those statistics

Did those numbers register in your mind? I know it is easy to tune out the numbers but please notice this a moment. I am talking about real live human beings, your family, my family, your friends and my friends being destroyed by drugs.
In 1970 heroin addiction was an epidemic in our cities and young men and women were overdosing and dying in unbelievable numbers. How may died due to drug overdose in 1970? 
Not quite 3000 deaths in 1970!
In 1988 crack cocaine was the cheap drug of choice and it ruined lives and killed people by huge numbers. How many died due to drug overdose in 1988? 
Not quite 5000 deaths in 1988!
We only thought we had serious drug problems in 1970 and in 1988. In 2016 there were 64,000 deaths due to drug overdose!
God help us! We are in trouble. 64,000 deaths from drug overdose in the USA in one year and that does not count deaths from accidents and murders attributed to drug use.
We have a major epidemic on our hands!
But that is not all. I began to wonder about legal substances that kill people. Here is what I found and links to where I found the information.
According to the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is responsible for the death of 480,000 Americans EVERY year in the USA! 
What? 64,000 Americans dying from overdosing on illegal drugs in the USA each year is an absolute tragedy.
480,000 Americans dying every year from legal cigarettes is an incredible blight on America. We do not have the will to save the lives of 480,000 people?
No, we as a nation do not have the will to save 480,000 people that do not have to die. This the reason why, from where I stand.
There is too much money to be made from cigarettes. There is money all the way down the supply chain including the state and federal government. There is no denying we love money more than 480,000 people each and every year!
How can I say that? Swallow this. 
According to the CDC in 2014 $9 BILLION was spent on advertising and promotion of cigarettes in the USA. That is nearly $1 MILLION every hour of the year! 
Yep, there is a lot of money to be made in killing 480,000 people a year in our nation. 
You need more? Try this: 16,000,000 (16 Million) people are living with smoking related illnesses in the USA and nearly 6 million people will die worldwide from cigarettes this year.
Add to that the many thousands that die from smokeless tobacco and the 30,000 each year that die from alcohol not including alcohol related accidents, homicides and suicides!
Oh, Lord, we need something to fill the longing in the souls of men besides drugs, tobacco and alcohol!
There is a void in the heart of every person that must be filled. We try to fill it with a million things. But that void is a God shaped void and only God can fill it!
Joel Hemphill wrote many years ago.
I searched for Him

And I knew not what I search for
I longed for Him
And I knew not what I longed for
Till I found Jesus
And I knew that I would search no more
He filled that longing down in my soul!

Yes, Yes, Yes! Jesus is the answer for the longing in our souls! Hallelujah!
Spread the news, friends. You know what the people are looking for when they reach for a pill or bottle or cigarette! His name is Jesus!
I thank you Jesus! I thank you Lord! You brought me a mighty long way!
Thanks for reading today.

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