Friday, March 6, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Life

“And through a window in a basket I was let down…” (2 Corinthians 11:33) “…such an one caught up to the third heaven.” (2 Corinthians 12:2)

       These verses come from two very different occasions in the life the Apostle Paul. In the first, he tells of having been put into a basket and let down over a wall, in order to save his life. The other comes from his account of his near death (or back from death) experience, when he was caught up to the third heaven, probably after he was stoned and left for dead outside Lystra (Acts 14). The two phrases reminded me of life. Sometimes we are caught up to Heaven, as it were; while at other times, we are so let down that we have to reach up to touch bottom.

       My point is this: It is easy to think either situation is permanent. But that’s not the case, and it can be dangerous to think so. Emotional, financial, and even spiritual highs can become intoxicating; and after awhile we begin to think, “Hey, this is life!” But it’s not life; it’s only a part of life. And if we think this way too long, we are in danger of trying to find ways to extend it that are not helpful, may not be lawful, and are certainly not Biblical.

       On the other hand, when we are sick, tired, financially strapped, or just suffering from emotional or spiritual depression, we may think because we see no light at the end of the tunnel, the light isn’t there. But it is; or in our case, He is. Older Christians may have, or at least, should have, an advantage here, for they have the benefit of hindsight. We can look back and say with the songwriter, “Through many dangers, toils and snares/I have already come/’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far/And grace will lead me home.”

       Whether things are good or bad, the only part of life that is permanent is the reality of God and Jesus Christ. Everything else is subject to change. This is true of people and places, as well. God means for us to enjoy Him in all of life—both the highs and lows—for He has ordained them both. Whatever your situation in life may be today, know that God is not only aware of it; He’s part of it. And that, friend of mine, will never change. “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising…” (Psalm 139:2)

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