Sunday, April 17, 2011

Everyone Finds the Bottom

Everyone Finds the Bottom
April 18, 2011
Luke 15:20 "So he got up and went to his father."

The story of the Prodigal Son may or may not fully resonate with everyone, but there is an aspect of the story that we all can understand. It is the concept of finding the bottom. In the famous parable told by Jesus, the Prodigal Son left home and lost all his inheritance. He had nothing left and found work feeding filthy pigs. It was a job he loathed and he longed for the days when he lived in his father's house. The Bible says, "When he came to his senses . . . he got up and went to his father." This moment of him "coming to his senses" is what finally convinced him it was time to approach his father for help. The Prodigal Son was at the end of himself and all he could do so he went to his father. The Prodigal Son had found the bottom of all that he could endure and he realized it was time to ask for the father's help.

While you may not have lived the same wretched lifestyle of the Prodigal Son, I know there has been a time in your life when you feel like you were at the lowest of lows. You may be there now. Everyone, at some point in his life will experience this, the finding of a bottom where he can't get much lower. For each person that bottom is different, but it will be realized sooner or later. This is not desirable, but it is bound to happen. It happens because God gives us that freedom and space to do what we want. Just like the story of the Prodigal Son whose father allowed him to make his own mistakes, God gives us room to mess things up or do things on our own. In fact, the only way a person can realize a bottom in his life is when he has been doing things on his own, apart from the Father, God.

The Prodigal Son could never have found his lowest point if he was still with his father. This is also true with you and me. If we always stayed by the Father's side, doing things HIS WAY, then we would never experience the lowest possible point in our lives. Finding the bottom is not desirable but it is a fantastic starting point. It is a chance to do what the Prodigal Son did, an opportunity to come to our senses. When we have come to the end of what we can do on our own, we will have the chance to look up and find God's face ready and willing to help us out of the filthy mud pit of pigs. When we have come to the end of what we can do, we will have come to the beginning of God in our lives. Apart from the Father, you and I can do nothing. The sooner we realize this, the better our lives will become.

The hard part, though, is coming to our senses. What does it take for a person to finally come to his senses, realizing it is time to go back and ask God for help? The answer is different for each person. The harder a person's heart, the longer it will take. There is no exact formula for allowing God to take things back over in your life, but it starts with a soft heart. Oftentimes, God allows us to make our own mistakes simply as a means to soften our hearts, to give us the chance to become teachable. God cannot take over in your life if your heart is hard. It takes a soft heart in order for things to start improving in your life, after you've found that bottom.

So, while I hope you never experience the lowest of lows, I pray you allow your heart to be softened, allowing you to come to your senses. If you haven't found the bottom yet, then remember to harden your heart; it will surely take you there. On the other hand, keep a soft heart and you'll never need the opportunity to come to your senses.

1. What would you describe as the lowest of lows in your life?
2. When you reached that lowest of lows, how did you come to your senses?
3. How hard was your heart when you found that bottom?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Luke 15, John 5:19-23

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