Being at the bottom does one of two things to you: either you become even more miserable, locked into your bondage, or you emerge from it a better, stronger person. It is impossible to stay the same. You also learn a lot about yourself. You discover how you react in the most adverse circumstances. Often, you don't like what you see.
I learned this through being there.
Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. (Job 40:3-4)You will never be free until you admit you have a problem and ask for help. For me this was very hard. I was where I was because I had spent years brooding on every hurt and pain. Speaking to the people I had shut out of my life was difficult. Publicly acknowledging I couldn't conquer things on my own, painful. However, it was also liberating. There is great freedom in not having to hide.
Looking at Job, notice that he spent what is the equivalent of 37 chapters, the greater portion of his time during this period, feeling sorry for himself. Yet all his moaning and groaning didn't accomplish anything. It was not until he repented that things in his life begin to change.
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:6)Now, God isn't looking for someone who will grovel. Instead, He seeks those who with a sincere heart desire to change. I remember falling on my face and crying out, "God, I don't understand. I don't know why, but nevertheless, change me. CHANGE ME! I no longer want to be the same."
In our time of greatest weakness, God is "rich mercy", "great love" and amazing grace. (Ephesians 2:4) He provides forgiveness so grand that its east and west never meet. (Psalm 103:12) Think about that! It's marvelous!
I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. (Job 42:2-3)Prayer is communication, and it is essential to complete healing. However, God doesn't require grandiose words or some algebraic formula. He just wants you to speak from your heart. Trust me, He's big; he can take anything you have to say. Look at Abraham. Abraham pleaded with God for the lives of his family. God didn't respond with, "How DARE you!" No, He listened and He promised. (Genesis 18:32)
Jesus came to die and restore the fellowship with the Father, which we had lost through Adam's sin. And He became "the way" of linking man back to God, who loved him so much. (John 14:6) The Apostle Paul tells us to come with boldness and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12) Like Abraham, we speak confident words to the Father, knowing He hears us and He answers our prayers. (1 John 5:15)
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. (Job 42:5)To overcome my problem, I had to renew my mind. (Romans 12:2) I did that through constant meditation in the Word. (Psalm 1:2) I read the same things over and over. I listened to the same things over and over. I disconnected myself from the world every day and spent time in worship. I crammed as much of God into myself as I could because I found out that it really was true - the more of God there was, the less of me there was. And "me" wasn't working so well.
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. (Psalm 27:8)All of this took time and effort. It required me to change my schedule. I had to excuse myself from daily chores and create time for He and I to spend together. I sought the Lord and in the process, He changed me. (Psalm 34:4)
And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)Change required obedience. Part of renewing my thoughts was doing what God asked of me. Job was healed when he obeyed. Obedience is not always easy. Many times, I had to go outside of what was comfortable for me. I determined that if it was asked of me and I could do it, then I would. I stopped making excuses. I admit I did a lot of things trembling, and several times I didn't want to be there. But in the end, I DID DO them. I had an instruction from God and nothing would turn me from it.
The desire in my heart for freedom grew as I spent time in God's presence. Eventually, I came to the point where I knew to be totally free, I had obey. I found with each opportunity, with each time I obeyed, I had more and more freedom. The bondages of the past gradually fell away. It was never all at once, but it was daily, minute-by-minute.
So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. (Job 42:12)Every moment of the day I strove to move forward. My desire was to forget my bad habits and stop the incorrect reactions I had learned. In short, I wanted to forget how to act like I had been acting. Job 42:17 says, "So Job died, being old and full of days." Notice, Job lived many years after this episode in his life. He saw his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. (verse 16) He looked forward to the hope of his future, not backward at his past. (Colossians 1:27) Think of that. Where would he have been, if he spent all his time afterward mourning what might have been? At the very least of it, he'd lost his children.
But this is more dangerous than that.
And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country.. (Hebrews 11:15-16)Forgetting is as much a part of healing as any physical trouble. When we don't forget, then all those "opportunities to return" begin to look promising. Imagine, the Israelites, after great deliverance from Egypt; they actually wanted to go back because the food had been better. Back into bondage for garlic and onions? (Numbers 11:5) I think not! No, we must desire something better.
"But how," you ask, "How can I forget?"
You forget by putting something else in its place. There is no such thing as an empty mind. The Bible says whatever is in us is what comes out. (Proverbs 23:7) Given this, it makes sense to put something else in there. As you renew your mind, God will give you new hope and you'll find after a while you've begun to forget. You can't remember the pain anymore.
I still mentally remember what happened to me. But instead of fear, it is my living testimony of God's amazing goodness. The torment is completely gone. I also have had "opportunities to return". But the difference now is that I know how to overcome those opportunities. I know who will pray for me, what scriptures I should to read. I know how to pick myself up and move forward.
If you find yourself at the bottom, never give up. Email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will pray for you. Then do what Job did: ask, pray, seek, obey, and forget. God desires for your latter end to be far greater than your former! Refuse to settle for anything else, and let Him begin to live in you.
Suzanne Williams Photography
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.