Not Drunk as You Suppose
My patient, a middle-aged man with long silver hair and a swollen, dusky-red nose, wore a flannel shirt and baggy pants that looked as though they hadn’t been washed in weeks. The drafty, run-down shack that he lived in reeked of garbage, beer, and cigarette smoke. This morning it had one more odor—partly digested blood. There’s just about nothing I hate more than the smell of blood that’s been vomited after being in the stomach for a while.
He got up around three o’clock in the morning and began drinking. A short while later, he began vomiting blood. His medical history was significant for emphysema, liver failure, and alcohol dependence. To make matters worse, the alcohol had eroded either his esophagus or stomach until blood vessels tore open and began to bleed. My new friend was a mess.
We loaded him in the ambulance and began transporting him. I tried to make small talk, but he had a grumpy disposition and was in a lot of pain. Most of his comments were profanities. I felt bad for him. I wanted to see God touch him in some way and maybe even heal him. In my spirit, I cried out for mercy and compassion. But I spoke not a word of it.
During the trip to the hospital, he shoots me a look of amazement and suddenly says, “I feel really effing weird.”
“What do you mean by weird?”
“I feel really high like I’m stoned. But I never do drugs, and it’s not the booze. This is really effing weird!”
As I watched, he began to giggle and smirk in the most amusing way. It was a short transport, and we soon arrived at the hospital. I dropped him off and gave report without elaborating on what I’m sharing with you. I’m a little embarrassed to discuss what I think happened to him.
I’m a recovering Pharisee, and maybe this is my treatment program. After God knocked the atheist out of me, He had to deliver me from a religious mindset that was offended by people getting “drunk in the spirit.” I admit I’m still a little uncomfortable about this at times.
The night before all this transpired, some of my more charismatic friends came to my house, and God proceeded to get us whacked in the Holy Ghost. People were laughing and falling on the floor in the joy of the Lord. It was a great time, and I’ll always remember that night fondly. But when my patient began to get giddy and happy, I realized it was God giving him a dose of the new wine.
Where do I go with this story, and what does it mean?
I think it’s safe to say that God loves everyone. Even mean old drunks. He loves us all, and He wants us to be filled with life, health, and joy. And He’s willing to go to extreme measures to do it—even to the point of getting someone drunk in the spirit in the back of an ambulance.
The eternal One heard an unspoken plea that mercy and joy should be extended to a miserable man, and He gladly granted the request. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.