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The Upper Room devotional reflection for Thursday, October 13, 2022, comes to us from Debbie O’Brien of North Carolina.

13 When a moderate south wind began to blow, they thought they could achieve their purpose; so they weighed anchor and began to sail past Crete, close to the shore. 14 But soon a violent wind, called the northeaster, rushed down from Crete. 15 Since the ship was caught and could not be turned head-on into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven. 16 By running under the lee of a small island called Cauda we were scarcely able to get the ship's boat under control. 17 After hoisting it up they took measures to undergird the ship; then, fearing that they would run on the Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and so were driven. 18 We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard, 19 and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship's tackle overboard. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

Acts 27:13-20NRSV



During my son’s struggle with addiction, I often felt my hope fading. I was afraid he would be lost to this terrible evil. My fear and worry were never-ending and consumed every waking hour. Sometimes, I felt I was in the raging storm Paul described in this story from Acts. I was struggling to pray and to trust God. It must have been like that for the crew and other passengers on the boat with Paul – fearful they would not survive. Without the sun and moon, they were unable to know where they were. But an angel of God came to Paul and told him not to fear, that all the passengers would survive. With this revelation from God, Paul was able to encourage the passengers and to give them hope.

During my son’s struggles, God reassured me that he was at work in my son’s life. My worry and fear did not instantly disappear, but God’s reassurance gave me the hope I needed to carry on in prayer, asking God’s guidance for how best to help my son. I did not always like the answers I received; but with God’s help I was assured that my son was in God’s hands.



How do we hold on to hope in the middle of a storm? How do we maintain our connection to the God of hope when our hearts are troubled by the addiction of a loved one? It can be challenging to maintain our focus on a hope-filled future when we are battered by doubts and fears. Debbie’s reflection offers us a glimpse at the strength and courage needed by families who are struggling to hold on to hope amidst a loved one’s addiction. Many of us can identify with Debbie’s story, as we have wrestled with the addiction of a parent, spouse, sibling, aunt, uncle, or friend. While we may not readily see the fruits of our prayers, God offer us the same word of assurance Debbie recounts: “God is at work in our loved one’s life.” It is with God’s blessed assurance, that we can hold one to the hope of one day seeing our loved one’s freed from the chains of addiction. I invite you to pray for renewed hope for families struggling with the addiction of a loved one.

--Pastor Anthony


Dear God, when the trials of life are overwhelming, help us to remember our hope is in you and that you will never forsake us. Amen

-- Debbie O’Brien

Prayer Focus:

Those struggling with addiction.

Thought for the day:

Trusting God creates hope in the heart.

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