daily office meditation, January 8th: being brought low enough for saving.

Isaiah 40:1-11

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries out: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.

I have not always had the sense to know that the gospel is only “good news” depending on where you are standing.  If you are in the valley, God is coming to lift you—and this is good news, indeed. But if you are on the mountain, God is coming to bring you low—which does not seem like good news so much.  Except that of course, when you are brought low, you will be ready for God to lift you again!

The world is such an uneven place. And those of us who are currently residing on the mountain, we have such legitimate reasons to fear a God and gospel that always equalizes us.  God coming to bring us low, is our greatest threat.  God coming to bring us low, is our only hope. 

The cycle continues on and on, with or without our consent—of elevating ourselves, and of being brought low, for a lifting that is beyond our reckoning.  Whether or not we are low or high, God is coming—even now—to save us.  But it can be a hell of a long way down, for us to be brought low enough for the saving.