On October 13, America was shocked with the headline news of Lamar Odom. The former Los Angeles Laker star was found unconscious and in a coma with his heart, lungs and kidneys failing. After three days of wild partying at the legal Nevada brothel called ‘Love Ranch,’ he was found with white foam coming from his mouth and nose. His alleged three day binge, described as ‘Odom and Gomorrah’, included activities consisting of a mixture of cognac and cocaine, along with ten sexual enhancing herbal supplements. It was later reported that he had suffered multiple strokes. His condition was deemed critical. Lamar was placed on dialysis as his vital organs continued to fail. Several days after the initial reports, headlines were saying he had a 50/50 chance of survival. Even then, it was thought, that if he pulled through, he could still suffer brain damage.
Khloe Kardashian, his estranged wife, and her sister Kim Kardashian rushed to be by his side at Sunshine Hospital, Las Vegas. His children, Destiny, 17, and 13 year old Lamar Jr. arrived to see their father with their mother, Liza Morales. His children had asked for prayers . . . and as Christians we should.
Since then he has regained consciousness and is able to communicate. Lamar is reportedly now receiving physical therapy. Despite all odds, with insurmountable health obstacles and talk of a possible kidney transplant, Lamar is on his way to a remarkable recovery. He was discharged from Sunshine Hospital and flown to a Los Angeles facility for further treatment. Lamar had a close call with death . . . thank God for answered prayer. Our God is the God of second chances.
Time after time news reports have told us of similar stories; those rich and famous who have succumbed to the worlds enticements of drugs, sex and alcohol. For many, they were not as fortunate as Lamar and they tragically lost their lives. Whenever death from overdose happens, whether induced by drug or alcohol, we are once more taken back in a sudden jolt of shock and bewilderment that is both heartbreaking and sobering.
Each passing year the tragic list of talented celebrities and athletes grows longer: Philip Seymour Hoffman, famous actor, director and producer, died at 46, on February 2, 2014; as the result of cocaine, amphetamines, heroine and sedatives. Whitney Houston was found dead on February 19, 2012 at the age 48; in a hotel bath tub attributed to a cocaine overdose complicated by heart disease. The famous Glee star Cory Monteith, died on July 13, 2013, age 31, due to an overdose of heroin and alcohol. Singer and song writer Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27, in 2011, from accidental alcohol poisoning. Michael Jackson died at 50 years of age on June 25, 2009; due to acute propofol intoxication, prescription drugs administered by a doctor who was later sentenced to four years in prison. Health Ledger died at 28, on January 22, 2008; from prescription drugs, painkillers, anti-depressants and sleeping pills. Anne Nicole Smith, playboy model and actress, died at 40 years old on February 8, 2007, from mixed prescription drugs. Last to mention, Marilyn Monroe died at the age of 36 on August 5, 1962, from an overdose on tranquilizers.
These people, because of addictions, some accidental, others in emptiness and hopelessness were robbed of their lives. Some stolen of their youth or living to a ripe old age. Satan is real and he is described as a thief: “the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” . . . (John 10:10). God never delights in such deaths and most of us are saddened by the waste of a human life with so much potential. Christians sadly realize Satan had another human being in his evil clutches. You see, there is an unseen reality of a twisted satanic spiritual battle for the souls of men. The Bible is clear about drug and alcohol use (I Corinthians 6:9, Galatians 5:19-21). As far as where they are now in eternity; only God knows the state of their hearts at death, we do not know for sure, but we must always remember God is a just judge He will do what is right (Psalm 7:11).
Perhaps some of us were caught in these deadly vices. Can you think back to a time when you may have died without Christ and without hope? Are you thankful for the time of extended grace, knowing that if you had died then, in your sins, you were not ready to go into eternity to meet your Maker? Be thankful towards God, who has given you a second chance in life. You were given time to hear and respond to the Gospel message; its power delivered you from worldly sins that could have cost you your soul. The Bible intelligently reasons with us: For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26).
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; it is good to remember we, like Lamar Odom were lost in our sins. First Corinthians 6:11 tells us: And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Our very own Ryan Ries, son of Pastor Raul Ries, could have been another casualty added to that growing list. Yet, by God’s grace he repented and changed his life to follow Jesus Christ. God is using him to help others to be pulled out of this evil trap. Thank God for second chances!
And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.