A Way of Escape

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

I Corinthians 10:13

We had a man enter the doors of Freedom That Lasts who had been invited by a few men that attended a Bible study at a local McDonald’s. The men were members of our church and this man recognized they had a Bible open, so he was drawn to them because of it. He had completed a live-in rehabilation program and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. He wanted to do what was right, so these men invited him to attend FTL. He walked in the door with a 1,000 watt smile and introduced himself as Brian McFadden. We were happy to see him, and he soon became part of our group. He told us he wanted to do right, and he gave us his testimony about how God had worked in his life. I invited him to dinner to get to know him better, and we made plans to meet up.

He loved chicken wings so we went to a good spot and got to know each other a little better over dinner. He was thankful for the meal, and he told me he would be back the following week. We got to know Brian well over the next several weeks, months, and years. He sometimes came with a face of pain as he was physically hurting, and oftentimes he came with a big smile, happy to be there on a Friday night. We had lunch once a week during the lockdown in 2020, and while that frequency waned a little when I had to go back to work in the office, we would still meet for a meal from time to time. He was usually faithful to attend on Friday nights and missed only when he was in too much pain or when he had to work on a Friday night, which upset him when they scheduled him to work on a Friday.

Brian relapsed and got back into drugs. He kept this pretty quiet, but he shared his struggle with me many times when we had lunch or spoke privately. He would sometimes bring it up in our FTL group, but would not elaborate on the details and would simply ask for prayer. His repeated prayer requests were for him to do what was right and for him to make right decisions. He desired to be right with God and our Pastor even shared with him the truth that he could be right with God that very moment. I tried to encourage him every day to do what was right, and I would daily send this very blog to him, which he would occasionally read and respond back to me with questions he had. I saw a real-life struggle between the flesh and spirit in Brian’s life as he struggled to live a life that would be pleasing to God. He knew what was right, but he battled with his flesh.

Brian had not shown up at FTL for several weeks, so one of our leaders at FTL went looking for him only to find he was no longer where he once lived. I looked him up online to see if there was any information I could find on him, with no such luck. I was speaking to my mother-in-law about him when she suggested I look for death records, which I found were not publicly released. I did see that the coroner’s reports were public information, so I looked up his name, just in case. I was hoping to find nothing, but I got a hit on his name and my heart sank. I prepared myself for the worse, but I was not prepared for this. Tears welled up in my eyes and I tried to think this Brian McFadden could be someone else, but deep inside I knew it was him. My dear friend did not find victory on this side of Heaven, but he is now free with our Lord. Sin no longer has the victory over him, and I know I will see him one day. He doubted his salvation because of his lifestyle, but one could see he was miserable in his sin.

Brian knew he was loved at FTL and he loved to be there. He loved being in the presence of “his brothers and sisters.” Brian is missed, but I am thankful that He is free in the presence of God. I miss my friend, but I am thankful for the time God gave us on this side and I know we will reconnect on the other. Brian would have been 51 years old this May, and with tears I add this to the story. I will celebrate and remember his life with his beloved popsicles, and I will strive to learn from the consequences that come with not taking the way of escape.

God always gives us a way to escape the temptation of sin, but we must take it or the sin will take us. We have the opportunity to be right with God at this very moment as He will always lovingly welcome us back like the prodigal son.

What are you struggling with today? Will you take the way of escape God provides, or will you continue in your sin? What will it take to get your attention? What sin are you fooling with that you think is not a big deal? May we ask God for His grace in helping us walk with Him, and may we, moment by moment, ask for His help as we battle the flesh. God is faithful and will always provide a way out if we will only take it and walk in the Spirit. May we exit off of the sin highway and onto the path of walking in the Spirit. Until we meet again, my dear friend.

Stay in the Fight!

6 Comments

  1. Heather on 09/29/2023 at 11:23 pm

    Saso I would just like to take a moment and say you have been such a light in my life. I’m positive you were indeed a light in Brian’s life as well. I am praying for comfort for you as you grieve a friend & a brother. I pray God shows you His truth in this situation that may be weighing heavy on your mind and heart. I didn’t see this nor read this until now & wow, just truly God is using you for His purpose. Thank you for sharing your heart/love & God’s truths with us at FTL and for staying in the fight & serving others.

    • Saso Mendez on 09/30/2023 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you sister for the kinds words and may God use us to be a light to this dark world.

  2. Sheris on 10/01/2023 at 9:48 pm

    That was beautiful Saso. And beautifully written. I do miss his smile and laugh. You captured it so well. I’m glad he felt welcome at FTL and enjoyed being there. I will miss seeing him from time to time and him saying hi with a smile. I am thankful he is in heaven free from addiction!

    • Saso Mendez on 10/01/2023 at 10:24 pm

      He will be missed and thank you for the kind words.

  3. Marta Moreno on 05/17/2024 at 8:03 am

    Grief is the last act of love we have to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love.

  4. Rosendo Mendez on 05/17/2024 at 5:10 pm

    Thank you Tia!

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