Have you ever hit rock bottom? That place were you have expended all you have and you are forced to lean on grace. You suddenly realise the frailty of human nature, you then begin to appreciate those little things you have taken for granted. Rock bottom is that place where you have cried all the tears, shame or humiliation no longer applies. Suddenly your survival instinct is on all time high because you then realise there’s only one way left and that is to go up.
We naturally don’t want to hit rock bottom. It’s too uncomfortable, too painful and too hard a season. It’s the real school of hard knocks, a place where we are battered and bruised but also beaten into shape. We are forced to grow, to think creatively but most importantly to move from comfort zone to stretch lane. You no longer have anything to loose so you try everything in the most creative ways ever. It is a place of growth, clarity and refinement.
I remember my first encounter with rock bottom. I had finished high school and was waiting for my WAEC results(GCSE equivalent) so i could go to university. I had plans, I had hopes and I looked forward to my freedom with such fervour! The news filtered in that the results had been released as I was in the kitchen cooking one sunny afternoon. I didn’t know what to expect, I looked forward to checking my result with trepidation. Very early the next morning I woke up and went straight to school. You see I was a prefect in high school, I was always gentle, neat and always smiling so I was liked by most of my teachers.
As I entered the school compound, I met one of my favourite teachers, we fondly call him master. He received me with a smile then went on to tell me how much the school has missed me. As he rattled away trying to bring me to speed about the interesting gossips, I smiled sheepishly but my heart was gripped with a mix of fear and anxiety. Eventually he let me go and directed me to the right office to check my result. By now a few of my classmates were around and we briefly exchanged pleasantries. The short walk from the school compound to the principal’s office took forever. Finally I got to the office, submitted my identification number…Needless to say that was my first real encounter with failure. I had just 3 credits, 4 passes and 1 F9.
My heart sunk, I played all possible scenarios of what my parents would do to me in my head and picked the worst one. My dream of freedom, of becoming a doctor has been dashed and in a twinkle an eye replaced with heaviness and doubt. I went home and hid myself in my room for the rest of the day until my mom came to fetch me that night. I found myself standing face to face with my parents, my hands clasped behind my back like someone facing a panel, a sombre look on my face with my heart racing like a formula 1 car at the grand prix. I stuttered and stammered trying feebly to explain away the result as I handed it to my dad. He skimmed through it and I could see the look of disappointment spread slowly across his face. Well I went back to high school wrote the examination 2 more times and finally passed all my papers in one sitting. It took me 3 years to cross that hurdle.
In those 3 years I learnt to depend solely on God to do his part but I also learnt to do my part well. I learnt the important of the decisions I make and how it contributes to the bottom line. I learnt to pull myself up by the shoestring when life beats me down, I learnt to submit to mentorship, I learnt to live uncertain about what tomorrow holds, I learnt to accept my faults and take responsibility for my actions. I learnt to stand up again when live beats me down, to love myself enough to encourage me to try again, to believe, to live and to dream. With the benefit of hindsight I realised God was preparing for something bigger than me. I gained strength, courage and determination from my rock bottom encounter.
It’s rather sad that parents now try to shield their children from their growth and refinement process when infact that was what got them to where they are. No wonder we have an entitled generation on our hands. Let me quickly remind you that failure in itself is not bad, it is how you handle it and what you do with it that matters.
Let’s learn to be grateful for every season of life, let’s learn to enjoy the process and appreciate the plan God has. Remember gold is just dirt without going through refinement. So also we are raw materials in the hands of our maker, we need chiselling and refinement to bring out our best. No wonder the bible said “I know the plan I have towards you, of good not evil, to give you an expected end”. God never waste a hurt! Even though there are times when the refinement process leaves scars but trust me they are beautiful. Those scars are your trophy of grace, the testament of your strength.
God shows up when it looks like it’s over, that is his area of speciality. Remember he makes a way in the wilderness, he brings forth water from the rock and when our back is against the wall and it seems all over, he suddenly makes a way.
Are you going through refinement now? Does it seem like it’s over already? Maybe you have even lost hope and you no longer care what happens. I have news for You! It is not as bad as it seems, God is just growing you. Quit whinning and get on with it. Enjoy the process and learn all you can. He will surely bring you to a place of rest, that is why he said he will lead you in the path of righteousness for his name sake.
Prayer: Father we thank you for your banner over us is love. I pray that everyone going through rock bottom phase would find peace and courage in you. That everytime you take us through this process we receive grace & patience to learn, grow and become all you plan for us. To come out shinning bright on the other side. Thank you Jesus.