Sixteen Christmases ago, I sat all alone at the Waffle House feeling sorry for myself and quite hopeless. Things hadn’t worked out the way I had planned.

After fifteen years in the full-time ministry, drug and alcohol abuse had taken their toll and I was at the end of my rope. Once a popular preacher, stories were now spreading of divorce, bankruptcy, and rehab.

My carefully constructed life was falling apart piece by piece, and my worst fears were coming to pass…

Then God showed up.

Tonight I’ll pick up my sixteen-year sobriety chip and my daughter will be presenting it to me at the meeting— only God. Then I’ll give it to the person in the room who looks like they need the most hope.

Please don’t give up five minutes before your miracle arrives. God specializes in lost causes and hopeless cases, and He’s not done with you yet.

I took my last drink four nights before the biggest drinking night of the year, 5,840 days ago. I’d simply had my fill. You can too.

So the question is: Was all the pain worth it? Hell yes. Wouldn’t trade it for the world.