At my daughter’s 1st grade Father/Daughter dance 2 years ago and they brought out the limbo bar. This entertainment usually comes out at parties like this, with people chanting “how low can you go,” everyone forms up into a line and takes turns walking under the limbo stick with their backs bent backwards, every time the stick goes a little bit lower. Everyone formed the line, but me, I took pictures of Emma.
This is probably one of the few places where people are encouraged to see how low they can actually go because usually how low can you go is associated with you’ve sunk to new depths, that’s low—even for you, don’t sink their level, that place is the pits, that’s the slums, even phrases like the depths of despair and low-life all convey to us that idea of how low you can go is not what we are supposed to be doing.
Because the usual encouragement is go a little bit higher, do better, do more, climb the ladder of success, be king of the hill, get to the top, if you want something done go above their head, that’s the right way to go. If we want to be successful then we are told to look toward those that are successful.
If you go to FaceBook sometime you can find a thing called the MastersClass where individuals who have reached the top of their game offer video lessons for you to try and achieve what they’ve done. The list includes famous author James Patterson, Tennis legend Serena Williams and actor Dustin Hoffman all of them will teach you how to reach higher in your own aspirations. If you’re looking climb the ladder of success you should search for and follow those that are high on the ladder themselves.
But where do you look if you’re looking for God? How high do you look and how far do you climb, how great must you become to be in God’s presence? How far do we want to go, how much do we want to achieve, how much do we want our desires to be the highest and most important and to be in a position that is above others so we can do what we want. Even in small ways our desires to be higher than others and to have the freedom to do what we want is there even if it means sacrificing the good of other people for it.
Think of phrases like, “what about me,” don’t I get a turn,” and “I can do with it what I want!” To the point, even if we don’t use the words I want to be as high as God, but even by saying something as simple as saying this is my car, my house, is putting you higher than others and God because none of those things are yours or your possessions, all comes from and returns to God and saying those kinds phrases tries to place us in the high position that only God belongs in.
In our own pursuits, both grand and small, to be higher than others, to go towards God-like heights or to be God-like in our own right, we climb the ladder, follow the greatest people, go to where we think God ought to be and…
God isn’t there. God is not where we expect God to be and all of our pursuits of height end up being empty claims that pass away just like the memory of greatness passes away from generation to generation, each of the great ones, even those that called themselves god, lost to the dust.
But God is not found in those high places. God is concealed from our sight and hidden where we would expect to find God because instead God is found in the low places.
How low can you go? How low has God gone?
- God found hidden within the straw of cave born to a young girl and into a refugee family. God found hidden upon a cross, spit upon, the lowest of the lows.
- God found hidden within the tomb in a corpse, in a dead body.
- God found with the lowest of those in the world, those considered unclean, worthless, rejected and downtrodden.
- God found with the prostitutes and the children, with the sinful and the broken down, with the disabled and the hurt.
- God found bleeding and dying with terrorists on either side.
God hides himself from where we as sinful human creatures expect to find God, in the high places because we as sinful human creatures have a skewed view of the world and of God, believing God will have the same sinful values that we do and dwell in the same places we try to climb to. But God hides himself from us in those places so that God can be found in the places where we can know who God is and what God desires for His creation.
We learn about God in the low places, chiefly the cross, that shows us the heart of God.
God turns our world upside-down.
In dwelling within that which is low in our eyes. God in Jesus lifts up what is low and makes it great. The weak are made strong. The worthless are given worth. The rejected are given a home. The hurt, healing. The sinful, forgiven. The dead are given life. All of those who are rejected at the table of the powerful and told to wait outside in the street where you belong are elevated at God’s table to the place of honor in faith in Jesus and the high and mighty are brought low apart from Jesus.
It also means that we’re invited to the party, because it means we can never be too low to be left out of God’s banquet or too low to be where God hasn’t already been. In faith in Jesus there is always a place for us at the table, no matter how low we have gone apart from the love of God, in Jesus there is always a place for you.
YOUR WORLD IS TURNED UPSIDE-DOWN. NOTHING LOOKS THE SAME-THE HIGH IS LOW AND THE LOW IS HIGH. HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?!
You already are there, you already are at the table, what will you do for those who are behind you, how low can you go? How low has God gone for us? How low can we reach to those who can never pay us back, our support our buildings, our put money in the plate? How low can we go for the homeless, the disabled, the broken and the hurting?
How low can you go as we follow God’s love to those who are low in this world to bring them the love of God that lifts them up.