8:18

Upside down

Upside down

The problem with progression is it’s sneaky. 

Change often comes incrementally.  (Ask anyone trying to lose weight!).  A wrong perspective doesn’t announce its presence.  It insinuates itself.  Little by little, we flip our thinking

As I meditate on this familiar passage from Isaiah, I am struck by the evolution of wrong-headed thinking.  But, not being a potter, I decide to slightly alter the reading – without changing the meaning – to apply it to my form of creativity.

 Woe to those who go to great depths
    to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
    “Who sees us? Who will know?”
 You turn things upside down,
    as if the art were thought to be like the artist!
Shall what is inked say to the one who inked it,
    “You did not make me”?
Can the drawing say to the artist,
    “You know nothing”?   (Isaiah 29:15–16)

How do people end up in a place where they think that they are autonomous?  Where they believe their actions have no ramifications?  They have to untether themselves – in their own perspective – from God’s authority.

Here’s how it can happen.

God is just like us.  In part, it is exalting ourselves.  In part, it is reducing God.  In this reshaping of our perception of him, we jettison the aspects of his character that make us uncomfortable – in particular, his holiness and anger against sin.  We tell ourselves that he would support our decisions no matter what we do.

God has no claim on our lives.  If he didn’t create us, then God doesn’t have a plan for how we are to live.  We are free to make up our own roadmap.  If he is not our source, he is not our destination.  Not Alpha, nor Omega.

God is irrelevant.  If the first two points are true, then what would he add to difficult decisions we have to make?  Sure, he can exist as a friend to empathetically pat us on the back during hard times.  But we’re on our own to figure life out.

We call the shots.  God gets in line.

Upside-down thinking.

Whether it’s a talking pot or a mouthy drawing, Isaiah point is the absurdity of such thinking.  This is meant to be a wake-up slap to a rebellious people.  But for those who are struggling right now with hard decisions -- asking an entirely different, desperate “Who sees us?” question – let me invert those three truths.

God is not just like us.  He is our all-powerful, righteous King.

Since he created us, he is committed to our good.

We can trust him to guide us when we seek him.

That is how to turn our lives right-side up.

Father in heaven, teach us to see the absurdity of exalting ourselves.  You are so much beyond our thoughts!  The greater our image of you, the greater the grace you offer through Jesus.  We exalt you, Lord!  Guide those who face trials and hard decisions today.

Reader:  How has God’s greatness brought you comfort during this difficult time?

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.