By Wes Emerson
My favorite country singer is the great Trace Adkins. Trace is known for many great hits, and I own his greatest hits CD. The last song on Adkins’ Greatest Hits somehow is not familiar to many: “I Came Here To Live.” This song resonated with me and struck a chord in my heart during my son’s seven year struggle with drug addiction. While it invoked sadness in my heart, it also gave me hope for my young tormented son.
“I Came Here To Live” tells a story of a young man in the grips of alcoholism. Though Aaron was addicted to heroin (not alcohol), I related well to the story in Trace’s story as a father. The afflicted son in Adkins’ song has a devout God fearing mother and a good, albeit frustrated father. Trace sings,“Mama taught the Sunday Bible class. For 18 years I remember thinking, there was more to life than that. So I ran the streets to beat the devil, goin’ as fast as I could fly… Cuz’ I came here to live, I didn’t come here to die.”
My son was raised in a Christian home. He knew right from wrong. He placed his faith in Christ at a young age, but numerous turmoils struck his young life and he turned to drugs to alleviate his pain. He quickly became an addict. Drug offenses placed him into the criminal system at an early age and he spent much of his youth behind bars. However, nothing deterred him in his drug quest and we spent many sleepless nights worrying about Aaron. As Trace sings, “Mama used to wait for me with the porch light on, worried bout her little boy til’ I got home. Daddy he’d say ‘Listen son,’ but back then there wasn’t much I already didn’t know.”
As parents of a seemingly hopeless addict, we suffered greatly with broken hearts. I personally had reached the point where I had lost all hope for my son. Finally, there did come a turning point in his life. He became sick of being sick and was tired of the dead end lifestyle of drugs. He was a child of God and the Lord never gave up on him. As Trace sings so beautifully, “I reckon I was doin’ close to 80 when I felt the tires slip out from underneath. And I never set out lookin’ for Jesus, so I guess Jesus came lookin’ for me…and He found me upside down, in a ditch, with smoke and gas in my eyes. And He said son you came here to live…you didn’t come here to die.”
The alcoholic teen in Adkins’ song had an encounter with the Son of God. He found the will to live and set forth to rebuild his life as a result. Throughout my sons’ addiction from age 14-21, this was my prayer for him. Repeatedly I found myself listening to this song. Each time it brought tears to my eyes as I mourned for this young kid. But it also provided hope when hope was hard to find. My son came here to live, he didn’t come here to die.
My son–and your loved one–came here to live. He didn’t come her to die! Jesus said,”I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”(John 10:10). Trace Adkins’ song reminds us that there is always hope for our addicted loved ones. Let go and let God! He will bring them back. He will bring them home to you. They came here to live, they didn’t come here to die!