The Topsy Turvy World
Week 7–The Holy Wild
I was a stay home mom for 18 years, and I was proud of it…..well at least for 99.9% of the time . The only time I ever felt not-so-proud was at those horrible Christmas “business” parties that I had to attend annually with my late husband. Every time I went there I tried to be as friendly as possible and socialized with my spouse’s associates. The conversation was usually about Christmas shopping and all that stuff, and as soon as they found out about what I “do” then the conversation stopped. I guess the life of a stay-home mom cannot stack up against the lawyers and the accountants. There were times I walked away from these functions feeling like a total loser. At those moments I had to remember who I am, and what God had called me to do at that particular season in my life in order to re-gain the value that I had lost in the eyes of these professionals……and the world.
We really don’t belong to this world, even though we are residing in it. Christians are Kingdom people with Kingdom values and sadly we are living in the empire which does not share these things of God. In actuality we belong to a “topsy-turvy world”, but so many of us have bought into the empire thinking. Just not too long ago I had two separate conversations with a couple of “mature” Christian women, and both had evaluated success as : having a good paying job, a big house, a two-kid family and annual vacation to exotic places. To them, that is success. But my question is: Is this how God looks at success for His children??
I know from the Bible that God does not value the same thing as the world does. When I study the teachings of Jesus, I observed things are kind of…ummm, very different and as a matter of fact upside down. Matthew 20 says in order to be first, you have to be last. And to be great, you have to be lowly. If these facts shock you, then consider what Paul had said that God chose the foolish things to shame the wise, and the weak to humble the strong. And how about Jesus who is an equal to God, came to earth the first time not as a mighty King but took on the nature of a servant. ( Phil. 2:6-11) And He who owns the hills and the thousand sheep became poor for our sake, so we can become rich. ( 2 Cor. 8:9). See the pattern here? They don’t make any logical sense to the human minds !! The things which defined success in this empire actually is unimportant in the Kingdom.
One thing I have learned is that Jesus never let Himself fit into the expectations of others. Just look at the Jews, their idea of the Messiah is a mighty prince and a warrior who will conquer and restore their kingdom, and yet God chose the most shameful and despicable way to reveal His power. He chose the “foolish things of the world to shame the wise”. That is so mind-blowing when He turned the most humiliating death as a way of conquest. “Victory, God-style, almost always looks like a defeat in the making, a catastrophe brewing.” ( P129, The Holy Wild)
As I reflect on this chapter on God’s victory, I think about the trials and tribulations of life. We humans do not welcome sufferings of any kind, we like a life of comfort and ease. Yet, in this Kingdom of ours we are to “consider it pure joy” when we face trials. Try to say this to empire people and they think that you are off the rocker, but then we have been told that in all of these things we are more than conquerors !!
Mark Buchanan writes: “God’s triumph comes disguised. Wounds, words, blood…..” this is totally different from the world’s idea of triumph ( success). It is “when neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons , neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God …”
Yesterday, I received a very timely email from a young man who had gone through a prolonged period of intense sufferings. He had wandered away for a time but thankfully the love of God pursued and recaptured him. In the eyes of the empire he might be a victim, but in the Kingdom he is a conqueror. As he is being embraced by His awesome love, he realized that his pain has a greater purpose….
and he belongs to the topsy-turvy world of God.