I hit rock bottom, the lowest point of my life, in December 2016. I was so depressed that I wished I was dead. I was so depressed that I didn’t eat or sleep. I spent my days often in a daze, sometimes just staring at the clock, wishing that each minute would pass quicker than the last.
It took months for me to fully recover from that sorrow. What helped was a renewed understanding of the gospel and its message of hope. I realized my fundamentalist and legalistic faith of my upbringing was rooted in a truncated gospel, hyper-focused on justification and salvation from hell. Once I came to see how the gospel is ultimately about the gift of God Himself, I felt I could finally breathe again and begin on the road to a full recovery.
I told myself that nothing could ever make me feel as lonely, forlorn and forsaken as the events that led up to that episode. I was smarter now, and more spiritually equipped. I knew that following Jesus was about a lot more than fire insurance. With age comes wisdom, after all and so I knew I wouldn’t make the same stupid decisions again.
I did fall into depression a few more times after that, but I never felt quite as lost as I did in 2016. I chalked it up to my newfound resilience. For the last three to four years, I’ve felt that no matter what life throws at me, I would not be shaken because I know what true pain and agony are like. I’ve studied numerous books, do dozens of Bible studies a year, and am more rooted in God than ever. Nothing can move me.
Although I am not fully on board with all that she states, perusing through Logan Wolfram’s book “Curious Faith” brought me to a newfound understanding of what it means to hit rock bottom. Simply put, rock bottom isn’t the point where our circumstances are the worst they’ll ever get. She says:
“There will always be brokenness in this life. We’ll always have disappointments. We’ll spend time after time picking ourselves up when life spirals us down to rock bottom. We’ll see the bottom more times than we ever care to…
This is why it matters so much that we define rock bottom before we ever get there. If we allow our circumstances to dictate how low we sink, there’s no telling how far we may fall. Disappointment shuts down our ability to hope and robs us of possibility…But if we want to really live, then getting to the end of ourselves is actually just the beginning.
So we define rock bottom to shore up our theology, to give us space to move in curiosity. The end, which is really the beginning, is that our great God is good and that He is for us…If the lowest we ever allow ourselves to sink still proclaims a story of redemption, then even the deepest deep is a springboard for forward movement again” (p. 48).– Logan Wolfram
The moment we become members of God’s family, we cease to be at rock bottom. Rock bottom isn’t the place where we’ve been the saddest, but in the moment we were furthest from God; the moments that predate our salvation. This means that whatever extenuating circumstance you are in now is not the end of your rope.
I am still young and quite green. I could end up divorced, widowed, childless, lose a loved one, or encounter a thousand different heartbreaking scenarios I can’t even fathom right now. In terms of circumstance, I could end up worse off than I’ve ever been, but is that really rock bottom? No, I’ve been there, and it wasn’t during that difficult winter nearly four years ago.
The worst off I’ve ever been were the years I spent without Jesus. I can struggle and stumble, but when I walk in the knowledge of the Holy, I have an Advocate and Comforter with me. Times of plenty without Jesus are worse than the depths of despair with His Spirit living in me.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”– Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
To be crucified with Jesus and live by faith means to surrender all that I am to Him. My mental stamina and strength aren’t my Saviour. I will never hit rock bottom again because nothing can separate God’s children from His love (Romans 8:39).
Beloved, the Rock of Ages has you in His hands. This is all to say that the pain you are going through now as a child of God is not your lowest point. You’ve already been through it, and Jesus has purchased your redemption.
Wolfram, Logan. Curious Faith. Colorado Springs, David C Cook, 2016.
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