The Road to Redemption: The Chet Walker Story


By Victoria Ostrosky

“It only takes a glimpse of hope to make somebody not hopeless.” Chet Walker finally learned that lesson after nineteen years of drug use, and now he fully comprehends the furious longing that God has for us.

In Brennan Manning’s book The Furious Longing of God he explains it beautifully. And Cory Asbury’s song “Reckless Love” describes it as well. As Brennan states: “the shattering truth of the transcendent God seeking intimacy with us is not well served by gauzy sentimentality, schmaltz, or a naked appeal to emotion, but rather in the boiling bouillabaisse of shock bordering on disbelief, wonder akin to incredulity, and affectionate awe tinged by doubt.” And again: “The furious longing of God is beyond our wildest desires, our hope or hopelessness, our rectitude or wickedness…It is simply Jesus, the effulgence of the Father’s love.”

Chet’s story is, amazingly enough, only one of a myriad of miracles where God’s reckless love kept pursuing until the one loved was found. Day by day, Chet destroyed his life by using and abusing every type of drug he could get his hands on. Heroin, meth, cocaine. He became a thief, robber, and “was best friend to the devil.” He lost everything.

Chet had grown up in church and believed in God but didn’t have that experiential knowledge. He didn’t have Jesus.

During those nineteen years of addiction, he went to many rehabs and spent a lot of time behind bars. He spent so much time getting into trouble, that Chet says, “I got addicted to riding in the back of cop cars.” Then God’s furious longing caught up to him. Chet was arrested again, and as he sat in the back of yet another police cruiser, he heard the words “you’re done” and he knew right then that he would never use drugs again.

While Chet was in jail for his most recent violation, God told him he was going to help other people. “I couldn’t even help myself. I thought I needed money, but that wasn’t in the plan.” Once he was out of jail, he began sharing his testimony to the homeless. “God puts me in front of homeless people who believe they want to be homeless. I come back each day and if they can see Jesus in my eyes, they get it.” He says that a lot of addicts don’t feel loved by God, and this is exactly what they need to know.

He talks about the importance of hitting rock-bottom, and that at rock-bottom there’s a trap door that leads to the devil: “Until that person finds Jesus and is willing to act on His vision, then they’re not ready.” They need to surrender to Jesus and act in obedience. Chet’s advice to friends and family of drug addicts is to “get them around Jesus, with books, music, and family love.”

Brennan Manning, a recovering addict, fully understood God’s furious longing. He wrote: “The men and women who are truly filled with light are those who have gazed deeply into the darkness of their own imperfect existence.” I know Chet agrees with Brennan’s assessment.

You can hear Chet’s entire story and listen to many other incredible interviews on the weekly Road to Redemption radio show and podcast at