Where Is the Bottom?

I had promised to write about sex and the Christian single, but the article I am writing is not the one I planned. Last week I watched a story on the evening news that has left me echoing the question Beneatha asked in A Raisin in the Sun, “Oh, God! Where is the bottom! Where is the honest-to-God bottom so he (we) can’t go any farther!” The story was of a 15-year-old girl in California attending a homecoming dance who was brutally raped and beaten outside of her school for 2½ hours by as many as 10 people. The rape took place while police and school officials were inside the school supervising the dance. But the most troubling aspect for me was that at least 10 other teens watched as one of their own was brutalized and not one of them called 911. How does a 15-year-old girl begin to recover from that? How do we?

Where is the bottom? This story is on the heels of another story coming out of Chicago. Honor student Derrion Albert, 16, was walking home from school when he became an innocent bystander in the middle of a gang-related street fight. He was knocked to the ground after being struck in the head with a board, and, after initially regaining consciousness and trying to get up, he was kicked and stomped in the head. He never got up again. The whole thing was captured on a cell phone video recording. I know because for the first time I watched. This time I couldn’t allow myself to escape into my relatively safe neighborhood or hide within the four walls of my church. I needed to bear witness to the horror occurring in the streets of our city. I needed to see the terror in the voice of another woman’s baby. I needed to make sense of the callousness of children. Our children.

Around the globe, 1 in 3 women has been beaten or forced to have sex, and in America a woman is raped every 2 minutes. Sadly, 61% of all rape victims are under 18. Chicago has buried close to one child every week this year as the result of violence. Something has shifted in the psyche of our children, in us as people, and, despite all the marches and handwringing, the violence is mounting. Numbers 35:33 (NIV) states, “Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land . . . . ” And the stench from our pollution is rising from the bottom. Last week, our church held a week of prayer and fasting for the city of Chicago. We cried out for the power of God. We prayed for the mind of Christ, and we sought the anointing of the Holy Spirit to break through the darkness that has made our children victims and killers.

Prayer is not a panacea. I’ve been to a lot of prayer services, and I’ve needed all of them. But for some of us, prayer becomes inertia. True prayer is total surrender to the will of God. We become His instruments set apart for His holy purpose to accomplish His will in the earth. Paul tells the Philippians, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13 KJV). Prayer must enable us to do, otherwise we are merely offering “vain repetitions” or a meaningless stringing together of phrases that accomplish nothing. The Scripture states that the “love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14 KJV). Because I have experienced Christ’s love, I’m driven to demonstrate His love to a hurting world. The passage continues, “that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15 KJV). The end result of prayer takes me outside myself and my own personal comfort and into the service of others.

We have to hit bottom. It is when we hit bottom, when we can no longer live with the mayhem in the streets – the silent screams of women and children, the swelling statistics of incomprehensible cruelty – that we fall on our knees and beg God for mercy. This time, however, we won’t pray that God will help us accomplish our agenda, but that His will be done in the earth, and then we’ll pray until we truly mean it. We will pray that His will becomes more important than our personal comfort, our safety, or even our lives. We will pray until we are completely empty of ourselves, and His Holy Spirit indwells us so that we are empowered to witness, for we know it will take the supernatural power of God to pull us out of the depths of degradation into which we have willingly fallen.

At the end of Paul’s life, he was able to say,For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure” (2 Timothy 4:6 NIV). The will of God is that we die empty of ourselves, and the Christ in us is poured into others. Then we will know what it means to become a living sacrifice unto God. On her Facebook page, my friend has a quote that I love from the British writer, Stuart Wilde:

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “WOW…What a ride!”

I pray that the bottom does not fall out on my watch. I pray that God changes me from the inside out and makes me a vessel that He can use. I pray that Jesus will see fit to thoroughly use me up on behalf of the helpless, the hardened, and the hurting. I pray that the Jesus I encounter in church impacts the streets. I pray that I don’t become religious and irrelevant so that I am neither salt nor light. I live for the day when I run into His arms breathless, having held back nothing, no matter the cost. That is my prayer.

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About Gail Krahenbuhl

Director of Gracious Women's Ministries, Wheaton Christian Center
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11 Responses to Where Is the Bottom?

  1. Terri Kraus says:

    Wow. Amazing, Gail. So compelling, I feel I need to go to my knees right now and pray the same prayer. Unless the church’s heart is broken in this way for the world, we’re just another country club. There’s a preacher inside you, my friend. You belong on more than a blog. You belong in a pulpit. Love you—
    TERRI

  2. Brenda says:

    Hi Gail,

    These inhuman and catastrophic incidences have been occurring since the “Fall”. However, we see them occurring more frequently; and significantly, with a greater rate of citizen detachment. The Bible speaks of these “last day” events. With that said, we can readily see the importance of prayer altars…… as well as Church and personal evangelism. Importantly, we will have to find ways to go outside of the Church walls and show people a better way. That is why I work so hard to find niches for my non-profit organization, Word Seed Ministries. I could stay home and insist that I spend enough time with my full time employment and Church work. However, we must be lights in the midst of darkness. The time I spend providing youth and family workshops, as well as community services within the Chicagoland community is always preceded by prayer, and more importantly, “Word seeds” are always dispersed to show people a better way -the way of salvation. It would be a lot easier for me to sit home and be complacent and do nothing.

    God bless you as you continue to have us reflect on “truth”.

  3. Excellent. Thought-provoking and sobering. It does inspire its readers to seek the Lord fervently in these unusual days.

  4. You have sounded an alarm for everyone who has the audacity to call themselves a Chrstian.

  5. Lisa Shebar says:

    Thank you, Gail, for yet another great, thought-provoking call to action. No one can make sense of these acts of unimaginable cruelty that humans inflict on each other, but at least you effectively use them to force us out of our comfort zones – these teenage victims could have been any of our kids – and to fall to our knees before the Lord and pray, pray, pray … and then to follow His leading to do something that will make a difference.

  6. Gail Krahenbuhl says:

    The danger of watching the news is that we become voyeurs to the incomprehensible suffering of fellow human beings. I am finding it increasingly difficult to just walk by while I’m praying. What is the church if we don’t “pour in the oil and the wine”? But what difference will it make without the power of the Holy Spirit? @ Terri, Brenda, Pastor Arthurs, Pastor Paul, and Lisa thank you for your insights and your prayers.

  7. Dear Gail, the world needs to read and hear these true words. Every television news show, radio, newspaper ,magazine and talk show. The media needs to get ready for the next female version of Paul Harvey and that is “the rest of the story”.
    Thank you,
    Jackie

  8. LaBrenda White says:

    Gail,
    In such a beautiful voice, you have illustrated the oft spoken truth that we only change what we can no longer tolerate. However, the answer may lie in more prayer and not less, for we cannot say that the church has not been active to pursue various plans, programs and methods to solve problems in our communities. The church of today is not the white gloved, prettily folded hands of the church of the 1950’s and early 1960’s, (the era I grew up in). At least the church of today has made an effort to be real. And yet, since like our sister church of bygone eras, we have not really waited in prayer on the Lord’s plans for how we should strategically combat the darkness, the evil one has been running cruelly over our lives and increasing in power. We need more desparate prayer by the priests among us who know how to wait upon God and to hear His voice. Once we get the Lord’s design and marching orders, then we can go to a certain victory!

  9. That’s where we are…looking for our relevance. The real call of God for all Christians is to pray on His terms. Your words really open my eyes to the reality of the purpose of prayer: to change me so that I can change the world. Gail, thank you for your “real-ness”; our generation needs it just like that. May God continue to speak through you.

  10. Tina says:

    Hi Gail,
    This is on point!
    It was a pleasure reading this blog on today.
    I can’t even watch the news anymore. It just cuts to the very soul to see the senseless violence that is taking place each and everyday. There is absolutely no regard for human kind. However I have noticed there is a pattern. The crimes seem to be more against the Women(Giver of Life) and the Youth( Legacy). There is no doubt that the enemy is always on his job and never late . If you want to destroy a people these are the ways that you would do it.
    With that said ,we as Christians need to stop during church as usual and saying oh I’m sorry to hear about that but that’s somebody else’s child. They are all our children. When I grew up the neighbor up the street can put you back in line if you were acting up. We need to get back to that. If we did, a lot of youth would not be out here doing what they do.
    The enemy has turned up the heat so we need to turn up our heat.

    Some things only come through prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:29 )

    If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ( 2 Chronicles 7:14 )

    We have to pray without ceasing and “release a sound ” so loud that it will put the enemy and his camp to flight. So I challenge our readers today as you did, To stand in the Gap and “Release the Sound”

  11. Dallas says:

    Amen to Gail and Tina!

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