Walter Kahler

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God's unconditional love
The Unconditional Love of God

I am so grateful for the way God has worked in my life. His love for me has been prevalent throughout my past and present. Even before Christ saved me, the Lord’s hand was protecting me.

I wasn’t always aware of the Father. I used to live life on a whim. I never thought about God. When I was a child, my mother made sure I attended church. So, there was knowledge of Him, but I wasn’t able to feel the connection.

I was shy and full of fear during my adolescence years. The feeling of not fitting in with other teenagers was a persistent battle. That awkwardness led me searching to find something to ease those difficulties.

I discovered alcohol and drugs. They seemed to be a solution, but ended up being a life-threatening problem.

Throughout those teenage years getting drunk and high on drugs was my primary focus. They took priority over school, sports, and even girls. Consumed with constant thoughts of ingesting as much of them as I could handle.

The alcohol caused blackouts leaving me no memory of the way I behaved. I became violent and untrustworthy. Sometimes I would wake up with black eyes. They had to beat me up because I was out of control. The only way I thought I could deal with those painful experiences was to continue drinking. That only made it worse.

The drugs caused me to become anti-social. I would use them to the point of becoming comatose blotting out consciousness. The combination of the alcohol and drugs played havoc with my physical, mental and spiritual health.

I almost didn’t graduate from High School, and I know today this was God doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself. At that time of my life, I would have settled for flunking out because all I wanted to do was get high.

After graduation, I joined the Army. One of my friends convinced me to sign up. We were going to enter the military together, but he backed out and off I went. I didn’t like the armed services. The discipline was tough, and my craving for alcohol was strong. I began plotting ways to get out and my first attempt was going AWL (Absent Without Leave). That got me in trouble.

Again, God’s invisible mercy was working in the background.
I finally did get out and the way I did it was dangerous. I took some medication and wrote a suicide note claiming I took an overdose. They rushed me to the hospital, pumped out my stomach and questioned me about the incident. I told them I wanted out, and they agreed. Again, God’s invisible mercy was working in the background. And I walked out after six months with an honorable discharge.

I returned home. Things didn’t get any better, only worse. See, I had not gotten God’s message yet and continued the road of self-destruction. My morality was becoming a problem because I compromised righteous behavior for wrongful action. I had become a thief and stole other people’s items so I could sell them to support my addictive lifestyle.

Just before my twenty-second birthday, my world came crashing down. The alcohol and drug abuse caught up with me, and I couldn’t stop abusing them. I was desperate to quit, but was unable under my limited power. I was powerless, helpless and devastated.

you (2)Then God’s unconditional love stepped in and rescued me. He had gotten my attention and placed me in the position to find support from others who traveled down that same path. The Lord led me to a Twelve Step program designed to help alcohol and drug addiction. God already knew this was the way I was going to activate my faith.

Over the past thirty years, the unconditional love of God has turned my life completely around. I not only have an active faith in Him, but know how to trust His divine guidance. He has introduced me to His Son Jesus and blessed me with the gift of the Holy Spirit. I’m forever grateful for the way He has allowed me to live in His presence.

By no means have I stayed on the straight and narrow. I retreated into addiction. Eight of those thirty years I lived in misery. I experienced nothing but unremitting pain and suffering from turning away from Christ. I never knew how bad things would get without God’s love and grace. I do now.

Today I understand the only way for me to remain in God’s favor is to be a faithful follower of His righteous path.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for Christ’s gift of salvation. God has proven to me the difference He makes when I’m humble. All I have to do in understanding it is look into my past and see the miracle He has performed in my life. The impact the Lord has made in my life is extraordinary.

addiction
Delivered

In the spring of 1985, I found myself at the doorstep of moms’ house. She was expecting me but unprepared for the shock of her life. I had called to inform her that I was coming back home. I hopped into my car and drove the four and half hour trip. I was a physical wreck for it took every bit of strength I could muster up to complete the journey. I had the shakes and a severe hangover from the previous night. I cannot remember the last time I had taken a sober breath.

I pulled into the childhood driveway, threw the transmission into park, and walked up to the front door. With my right hand, I reached for the doorknob, twisted it and walk through the threshold. She embraced with a loving hug followed by sobbing. The tears falling down the cheeks of her face were not joyful but terror. She did not recognize her youngest son because she remembered her boy being full of life. Bewilderment radiated through her expression, and she was devastated. I was one hundred and ten pounds and the skin on my face was sunken inward giving the appearance of a sick and frail young man. I was speechless, hopeless and desperate.

I was only away from home for three years. I never thought it would end up like this. I was full of ambition ready to take life by the horns. I had visions of prestige by planning to make a name for myself. I had a lot of good intentions. These should have been achievable goals, but the demons inside myself stripped away anything worthwhile.

alcohol1I had reached that point where alcohol had its way with me. I could not stop this insidious reoccurring nightmare because everything I tried to stop drinking drove me deeper into the black hole of powerlessness. Bottle after bottle, time and again, I would repeat the same mistakes always expecting a different result. Instead, I was faced with the fact of being an alcoholic. I had turned into the one thing I despised and a spitting image of dad.

I was baffled, ashamed and did not know where to turn. My parents agreed to provide me a place to stay under the agreement of seeking help. I was willing and took them up on their offer. Mom knew of a counselor who specialized in alcoholic addiction. So I contacted him. After the first face to face session with Mr. Barfield and just before leaving his office he handed me a flyer with a list of twelve-step programs. He highly suggested I start attending meetings.

I decided to choose one and did not know what to expect from the twelve-step program. I was scared. I cannot recall the topic at my first meeting. I continued attending and began to identify with the medical description of alcoholism. The way they laid it out made perfect sense because for the first time concerning my drunkenness there was a logical explanation. It spoke volumes, and as I looked back at the past, there was concrete evidence staring me in the eyes.

Then came their hook, line and sinker that would be the only solution to my predicament. God! That presented me with a significant stumbling block because I was agnostic. There could be no God in this world riddled with evilness. I was highly offended by their seemingly shallow outlook. How could God do anything for me?

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.

Jeremiah 17:14

Well, they said to me, just hang in there a little longer. Don’t give up before the miracle happens was a frequent slogan. Things did change. God began to work on me, and I gradually found faith. As a result of seeking God, a transformation began taking root, and I learned a lot about how He works. I came to understand that through trusting Him everything will be taken care regardless of the current situation.

The power I received from His strength allowed me to make amends for my wrong doings as well as healing my heart. Even though, I found the effect of God I failed to maintain it and became complacent. I was content with the way my spiritual life was and started to slack off in my devotion. I did not realize the danger this type of view would bring. This blindness cost me dearly and after eighteen years of sobriety I got drunk.

I remember the moment I started using alcohol again was not wise. Everything God had done for me was tossed aside because I decided to get drunk. The insanity of alcoholism returned with a fury taking my places of degradation. I was in the grip of wickedness unlike any I had known. I was dying a slow and miserable death.

God did not give up on me and continued calling me back. I finally heard Him after eight years of misery.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

He opened His arms, and I embraced Him. God picked up where He had left off and quickly showed me the light at the end of the tunnel. As I walked down God’s tunnel, He delivered me to His Son Jesus Christ and into salvation. I now know the Light at the end of God’s tunnel is Heaven.