When Up Is Down

As part of my devotions, I recently began reading and reflecting upon select writings from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, and was struck by the following from the introductory prayer:

Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly, …

Let me learn by paradox

that the way down is the way up,

that to be low is to be high,

that the broken heart is the healed heart,

that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,

that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,

that to have nothing is to possess all,

that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,

that to give is to receive,

that the valley is the place of vision.

In this context, I am reminded of how much the Christian life is not only at odds with current mainstream thinking, but it is, on the surface, seemingly illogical. As declared in the Scriptures: to save one’s life, one must lose it (Luke 17:33); to be wise, one must become a fool (I Cor 3:18); to be exalted, one must become humble (Matt 23:12); to be first, one must be last (Matt 20:16); to reign, one must serve (Matt 25:21); and, to get, one must give (Prov 11:24; Luke 6:38).  How glorious it is when the Spirit of the Lord enlightens our hearts and minds to understand and embrace these wonderful truths.  If at times it seems as if you’re swimming upstream against the current, perhaps you’re right where the Lord wants you to be.


About Al Huss
I am a professor of New Testament at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA

2 Responses to When Up Is Down

  1. Jim E says:

    So good…those “old guys” had a hold on something didn’t they…something similar happened to me when I first came to the Lord, 50 years ago or so…I couldn’t get enough of the Word…and something kept coming up as I read and marked in my Bible…it was what I’ve called “God’s Elevator”…I first found it in I Peter 5:6…”Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”…like you wrote in your post…I believed it to be absolutely true (it was in God’s Word)…but intriguing…how does that work???…I asked myself…

    And so all over scripture I found the same thing…and slowly, as pointed out…it became clear…it is God’s Elevator…it’s how He works…totally counter to everything we are told…but His way is far better than ours…and over 50 years later, though it is still seems intriguingly mind-bending…it still works…and other verses that describe God’s Elevator…here are some of the many…I Peter 5:6, James 4:10, Luke 14:11, Matthew 18:3-4, Luke 18:14, and others…but Philippians 2:8, Jesus, our example, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”…from heaven’s glory, to the horror of the cross, to return to heaven’s glory…and now we can “tag” along…Oh my…such humility…such exulted glory!!!…thanks again…

  2. Jim E says:

    Something I guess I never said in my first comment…”God’s Elevator”???…”The way up, is down.”…you get on the elevator and you want to go “up”…then push “down”…humble yourself under the might hand of God…so that He will be able to exult you (whatever that may mean) in His own time…sounds good to me…and it works…

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