A colleague once told me, “I understand the people who believe in Jesus who have nothing. They need God. That makes sense.” Its true, that people who have nothing need Jesus. They tend to know they need Jesus. They “get it”. However, people that haven’t reached their bottom, and that have stuff need Jesus just as much. Its just harder to see the need when we think we can make it on our own.
Proverbs 30:7-9 puts a request to God plainly:
“Two things I ask of you, O Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.”
It is really easy in the world to disown God. Too easy. All it really takes is things going well, and our natural mindset slips into independence instead of dependence on God. When the other shoe drops, we return and He runs to us like the father runs to the prodigal son. This has been going on for centuries.
The tragedy of getting caught in this cycle is the low gets lower and lower and lower as our hearts get harder. As much as rock bottom sucks, it can be a grace. Not everybody hits rock bottom in this life, and that can be more tragic than not hitting rock bottom. Those that do hit rock bottom have some options. One is to seek Christ. Some think there is a magic prayer, while others think its just a decision to head in a direction. Its hard to explain as it looks different for everyone. It can start with a prayer (though, arguably its not any more magical than any other prayer to God…which in all honesty is pretty amazing when you unpack it as communication with the Creator of the universe) and lead to a direction. In any case, there is a trust transaction that must occur. Trust must be transferred from taking our life into our own hands to putting it into the hands of God.
The other option is to just spiral. Spiraling isn’t fun. You get really dizzy and that leads to throwing up. Spiraling can also lead to despair which can lead to horrible choices. Some people say once you bottom you can only go up. That’s wrong. You can stay on the bottom. Paul writes in Romans that God will let us stay on the bottom as long as we want. The tragedy is, the longer we stay on the bottom the harder it is to see God, the more separated we feel, and we think its less likely He will want to reach down to scoop us out of the pit.
God will always scoop us out, though. All we have to do is ask whole-heartedly.