On Walden Pond

It was in 2011 that the college sent me to a conference in Boston. On a free afternoon I rented a car and drove to Lexington and Concord--the birthplace of the American Revolution where shots were fired heard around the world. I'd not intended to go, but I saw a sign declaring Walden Pond at the next exit so I changed course. Philosopher Henry David Thoreau went to Walden in 1845 and spent two years pondering the meaning of life. Thoreau's cabin is gone, but the site remains a major tourist attraction.

Thoreau's most well-known words are, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them."

People today yet look for the song, but many look on dead-end streets.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, one in 12 American adults has a serious alcohol problem. When you add drugs to the mix it brings the affected to one in 10. Alcohol and drugs promise an escape, but they've never solved anyone's problems. Most often they make problems worse.

A lady came to our church and asked me to pray for her son. She said she didn't know where he was at the time. "He's addicted and he stole from us, so we're practicing tough love," she said.

One of my boyhood heroes was Roy Rogers. He and his wife, Dale Evans, tragically lost three children. One was Sandy, whom they adopted after he was abused as a child. Sandy went to military school and loved it. He enrolled in the U.S. Army and was awarded the rank of private first class while in Germany. His buddies invited him out to celebrate and encouraged him "to drink like a man." Sandy drank himself into a coma and died early the next day.

Alcohol and drugs make promises they can't keep.

In contrast, Jesus said, "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

A preacher named Harry Monroe spoke at the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago and said, "God can save any man in Chicago." Mel Trotter came forward and said, "That's not true. He can't save me. I'm no good." Trotter was plagued with guilt after the death of his two-year-old and because of his drinking and gambling. But God saved Trotter that night. Trotter then gave his life to the work of similar rescue missions. Though he died in 1940, the Mel Trotter Ministries in his native Michigan still ministers to people on the street and promises, "God can save anyone in Grand Rapids."

Mel Trotter found his song.