"They turn everything upside down." (Isaiah 26:19)
Were it not for the ripple in the water's surface you might look at the picture and assume my camera was pointed up at the sky instead of down at the water. My camera might have turned your world upside down and fooled you into believing that you were looking at the sky instead of the sky reflecting on the water. (I purposely had my wife, Patti, make the ripple so you wouldn't be fooled.)
I don't mind being fooled as part of a joke but I really, really dislike being fooled in a serious situation. I remember more than once when I was a young, inexperienced pastor being told stories by individuals only later to find I had been fooled. Being fooled makes me feel angry, hurt, disappointed, weak, and much more wary about trusting the next time.
Unfortunately it's not that difficult to deceive us, to get us to believe that down is up and up is down. Deceit can sneak up on us before we know it. Persons with power and position can easily get us to believe their version of reality when we are manipulated by our desires for everything from safety and certainty to lust and greed. We can even learn to deceive our very own selves if we allow our wants to distract us from our focus - healthy relationship with God and one another.
Isaiah indicted God's people by accusing them, saying, "They turn everything upside down." He was speaking to a people who had neglected the practice of their faith. Once they began to neglect the study of God's word and practice of the covenant they became easy prey for their own delusions and the manipulation of others. They began to believe down was up and up was down - right was wrong and wrong was right. They began to believe that their wants were more important than God's way and manipulated "reality" to reflect their wants. The result was not very pretty for them, nor is it for us when we do the same.
It's pretty painful when we come to the awareness that our world has been turned upside down by the deceitfulness of ourselves and others. I give thanks to God that I can turn to God and find in the love of Christ forgiveness, healing, and the help to practice a faith in God that will inform and not deceive. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
Help save lives! For more information on my new book, "A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression," visit www.survivingteendepression.com.
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