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When Down is Really Up

What do you do when life reverses and takes you backwards and down instead of forward and up? Such was the experience of dozens of commuters at a New Jersey subway station this week when the escalator they were on reversed direction and started going backwards. Down. People were screaming, “Stop! Stop! Someone stop this thing!”

Ever experienced that feeling? All you wanted was up. Feeling like you’re moving ahead. In the right direction. Even slowly is better than backwards. However, it’s bound to happen. A relationship goes south. Savings get depleted. Home value drops. Your health takes a turn for the worse.

After experiencing ongoing shoulder pain, an MRI at the end of 2012 revealed that my rotator cuff (repaired twice with four screws now connecting tendons) has in fact a complete tear. For the first time, I heard a surgeon use the word “irreparable.” Not only no progress, this escalator had reversed and was heading down. I sought more opinions, and still the same.

However, what seems like a bad situation in our eyes is an awesome opportunity in God’s hand. Irreparable probably holds the same place in God’s vocabulary as impossible. It doesn’t exist. God does His best work against the grain. Adversity is His secret ingredient.  I remember once hearing a pastor say, “Whose report are you going to believe?”  Will we look at our circumstances or lean into God’s truth? I’ll take the leaning any day. God can be trusted. He never lets us down. End of story.

My story’s still in process. God, through the mouth of the Duke hospital surgeon, said, “I can fix that.” And so, I’m preparing to undergo surgery in less than 12 hours. I may not be playing the piano for two months, but that doesn’t stop me from praising God for His goodness today. Some would say we should wait until the trial is over to proclaim victory. But, although my story is still in process, I declare God the winner today. The healer today. The Redeemer today. The mender of broken shoulders and broken lives.

So, don’t believe your down means you can’t look up. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Cor. 4:17. Join me in declaring this short prayer I heard my pastor pray recently, “God help me to trust what you are doing in my life. I offer my life, my everything to you.”

O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you. Ps 89:8 I will sing of the LORD’S great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. Ps 89:1

There’s no place like HOPE,


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