Faith on a Sticky Note, by Mark McKinney
Dying from Alcoholism is ugly business. It’s tempting to think that you get drunk, go to sleep, and never wake up. I’m afraid it’s not that pleasant!
An alcoholic death is slow and painful…not only for the patient, but for the loved ones who must watch helplessly.
In his book, Faith on a Sticky Note, author Mark McKinney paints this grim picture as he describes his alcoholic father’s demise.
All is not gloom and doom, though. The elder Mr. McKinney’s alcoholism and subsequent death creates a wake of healing that starts with his son then spreads to an entire community.
Alcoholism Is A Family Disease
Like many alcoholics, Mark’s father adopted the “my drinking only hurts me” attitude. He was a hard-working man who provided for his family. Wasn’t he entitled to belt now and then?
Entitlement aside, his alcoholism clearly hurt his family. Broken promises about abstinence caused rifts and temporary estrangement. But, their father’s alcohloism eventually became a rallying point for the family.
When he began vomiting blood and was rushed to the emergency room with a life-threatening diagnosis everyone dropped what they were doing and rushed to be with him. Old resentments were set aside as they focused on “okay…how do we beat this together?”.
Mark learned that even when we think we are all grown up, we can sometimes be challenged to grow up some more. Making life-or-death decisions for the strongest person you have ever known, your father, creates maturity out of thin air.
Church Does Not Equal Faith
In the Introduction, McKinney reflects on his relative position among the saved…
“I must not be saved, and I am sitting here amongst a bunch of haves, when I am a have-not. Surely, I cannot speak up and say anything lest I be judged for not being on the team, or worse yet, unworthy of being saved.”
I have been a seeker all my life. As such, I can relate to the author’s sentiment. It’s too bad church has become a place where people smile, slap backs and act like they have everything under control. The truth is that many of those back-slappers are on the brink of spiritual collapse.
Faith is not served up on a silver platter to those who take up space in a church building from 10:30 to 11:30 every Sunday morning. Faith has to be worked for…earned through prayer, life experience and true humility.
Faith is a belief, a true belief in your deepest heart, that God loves you.
God Works Through People
Throughout the book, McKinney demonstrates how God worked in his life through the people around him. He shares that he never had one huge, defining, “burning-bush” moment. But, as he looks back at his life with the perspective that only time can offer, he sees that God put him in front of certain people for certain reasons.
He changed jobs to meet a woman and her husband. He moved his family to be part of a certain church. He spoke to a group of people so he could share his story with one person in that room.
God was working in his life even when he could not see it.
I always had the false sense that, if God wanted to speak with me, he would do so in a loud, booming voice and an army of angels would be involved somehow. I guess that happens for some people. For most of us, though, God is more subtle.
The challenge is for us to pay enough attention to catch these quiet messages. God is talking…are you listening hard enough?
“God, I pray for knowledge of your will for me and the strength to carry it out.”