The Upside Down Kingdom
“Not the kind of king Israel expected. Jesus, from the very beginning of his humanity, dealt with the problem of suffering by entering into it.”
Luke: Part 1 Study an At His Feet Bible Study
July 21, 2016
I laid flat in a hospital bed. The beeping sound of monitors became a distant hum to the thoughts and worries on my mind. My children were born into a state of chaos and I felt God had once again robbed me of my happiness. All the joy I waited for as a new mama. GONE. The hospital visits from friends and family excited to celebrate their birth, the first bath, their first doctor’s appointment, etc. Even typing this out brings a steady flow of tears three years later. Trauma seems to find me at every corner, and I was sure this time God and I had a deal. I mean, birthing twins and all. There’s no way he orchestrated 3 emergency room visits, CT scans, MRIS, and pain so crippling I prayed for my life to end.
“God doesn’t waste our darkest days.
He uses them to point us toward the light.”
Nothing Wasted by Kasey Van Norman
A year ago The Lord began harvesting my love for the wide-eyed beauty and simplistic details of Christ birth. Thus enter our beloved Mary. A young girl with no status favored by God. After receiving news of being gifted the highest honor, her actions take my breath away. She would give birth to a son, and his name would be JESUS. The angel Gabriel addressed Mary as “O favored one,” which in Greek clarifies that this blessing was given freely and not earned. She wasn’t out serving her congregation or making casserole dishes on the regular for fellowships. OH, and the popular girls? They wouldn’t give her the time of day. God was in love with her precious heart. He knew she would fully accept His will and act on it.
“I am the Lord’s servant, said Mary.”
“May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
Mary was the perfect example of a disciple. Human like us all, I’m sure she had doubts of how God’s perfect plan would come to completion. No room in the inn, forced to take shelter for the night in unfavorable conditions, unsanitary stable, no safe place to hide from a King on the hunt to find and kill the newborn king? This just can’t be. Surly this wasn’t how He planned for his son to be welcomed into the world? Sometimes, I like to imagine Mary having a little hormonal episode and stating the popular phrase by Heather Land, “I AIN’T doing it!” Am I right ladies? But, EVEN still she served God without fear and trusted he would provide in the midst of oppression.
It was always God’s plan for Jesus’s life to start out in a state of poverty and suffering, making HIM well acquainted with the hard parts of this life. As He grew up, His ministry here on earth is a gospel spoken for the masses. The upside down kingdom of Christ camped out with the demon possessed, looked deeply in the eyes of the sick, and found favor in the unwanted and unworthy. He heard their stories and loved them through what they thought could never be forgotten or forgiven.
I highly suggest reading through Luke before Christmas. My dear friends our lives stories are written in those pages.
I have found that His message is not about the yes to our own desires; but instead the yes to all of humanities long waited redemption.
The West Nashville Dream Center, located in Nashville, TN, is a non-profit organization serving an under-resourced community. I am partial to this ministry because I have watched my sister, Miranda Telford, and her incredible team walk alongside these people and create a stable environment with arms open wide. Each team member welcomes families into their personal space while meeting physical, emotional and spiritual needs that power their cause. Recently, I was able to ride along with my sister to meet one of the families they were featuring for a promotional video. I walked in the home and instantly heard the sound of laughter. TJ Fletcher, the executive director, has this effect on people. She is skilled at breaking the silence of oppression while offering hope when it may seem few and far between. The stereotype that the ultimate joy is found in neighborhoods with 5 star reviews, and gorgeous social media feeds must be laid to rest. I am here to tell you from experience I could have stayed for hours listening to the laughter of these beautiful children and hearing their story of their redemption.
Jesus’s humble beginning speaks volumes to those who need to be fostered in the message of His grace, repentance, freedom, and forgiveness.
Pre-fixed purchased filters can’t gloss over the pain that hides in the pixels of our dark days. My saving grace to victory over 2016 has been the replay of the blessings and nurture He provided for my children while I was helpless. My prayer to let go of control is sung on the mountaintop for all to hear. His sovereignty has greater value than what our minds can comprehend.
Perhaps this final act
was meant to cleanse your lifetime’s argument
That nothing comes from violins
And nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Les we forget how fragile we are.
Fragile | Nichole Nordeman
A weary world rejoices.
The prelude to the upside down kingdom invites us to remember a baby who came with a holy army that sang to the outcast. The Lord doesn’t need another message of Christmas wrapped in a pretty bow. Let Him sit with you in the state of your struggle and fragile heart. Fully accept his world for all to hear and GO tell it on the mountain.