The Upside of Down
What to do when you hit rock bottom
Guide my heart to a better appreciation that rock bottom
is nothing more than an opportunity to rely more heavily on You.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9
Paul didn’t mince words in his letter to the church in Corinth. They were “utterly burdened” and “despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8 ESV).
But Paul also immediately identifies the purpose behind the pain: to strengthen his dependence on God.
It was the first day of school and it was Mark’s first day at a brand new school. We’d visited with the teacher beforehand. We’d toured the building and the playground. I thought he was ready and excited. At least that’s how he acted.
When we arrived at school that morning, I wrapped my arms tightly around him, gave him a good squeeze as I planted a quick kiss on top of his head. “Have a great first day, Honey!” I said as I went to let go and leave. There was just one little problem—Mark wouldn’t let go for dear life.
“Mark?” I said as I contorted a bit in order to seek out his face. He’d since buried it into my jacket. “Mark?” When I finally coaxed his eyes out to meet mine it was abundantly evident. Things weren’t okay. They couldn’t be farther from okay. Despite all his brave words in the car, the streaks of tears running down his cheeks, tightly clenched jaw and death grip around my hips were telling an entirely different story—the story of his true emotions.
Like Paul who was “utterly burdened” and my little Mark who cowered in fear, we all experience challenging emotions from time to time. This is to be expected in our current human condition living in a broken world. But fortunately for those of us who choose to follow and belong to Christ, such negative emotions aren’t the end of the story. We never need truly despair because rock bottom need be nothing more than an opportunity to rest even more intently on our Rock.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2 (ESV)
What causes you to feel overwhelmed or like you’ve reached rock bottom?
How do you naturally respond when you feel this way?
How can you use these as cues to lean more heavily on Christ?
What does it mean to rest on our Rock?
What are some specific ways you can do this?