14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
Throughout my 12-step journey, God has had to use strange moments to “wake me up to His presence.” I entered drug rehab while I was in seminary. And with that, I was thoroughly convinced that I knew all there was to know about God and that this “rehab experience” was not going to enlighten me in any way. So, I entered with a huge ego—so large it had its own zip code. I remember my counselors and fellow residence talking endlessly about this “God of our own understanding.” It fell on deaf ears.
One day, when I was feeling quite self-assured, I decided to take a walk on the hospital grounds. Seems innocent enough … right? Well, it was November, the ground was thick with ice and snow and the rule was—no venturing out without permission. Being unique and beyond “the rules,” I took a walk. Got to the lake and it was frozen, so I decided I was going to do the “Jesus thing” and walk on water. Got about 10 feet out when ice began to break and went I straight down into freezing water. I made my way back to the hospital and was, to say the least, busted. Because of this, I was given the privilege of cleaning bathrooms for three days.
It was on the third day and I was “elbow deep” in toilets and was frustrated with the stupidity of this whole “rehab thing.” I had decided to pack my bags and leave and then three fellow residence walked into the bathroom and began cleaning. Couldn’t understand what was going on … so I asked, “why are you doing this and what’s in it for you?” They said, “nothing, we just wanted to work a good program today and help those in need —isn’t that what God would have us do?” I was unable to respond (which was unusual for me). And then it dawned on me that they were right. This is what God would have us do. These three guys were the God model for me. I don’t remember their names and I’ve forgotten what they look like; but I will never forget the lesson they taught me. I will forever remember the day I found God as I cleaned toilets with three fellow 12-steppers.