Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stooping Lower

I looked at humility from another angle this morning, with help from Ann Voskamp. She wrote of Jesus setting the little child before His disciples and saying we must humble ourselves as a little child. And she wrote of the child's continual state of surprise -- no plans, no expectations.

"The humble live surprised. The humble live by joy... The humble are the laid-low and bowed ones, the surprised ones with hands open to receive whatever He gives.
He hands them the earth.
The earth."
~A. V. One Thousand Gifts

I thought of how much I love to surprise one of my kids with a gift for no reason. And how I love to see the surprised joy it produces. And how I hate to give anything to someone who comes up and demands it as their due. Humility responds like a child to a gift.

"To receive God's gifts, to live exalted and joy-filled, isn't a function of straining higher, harder, doing more, carrying long the burdens of the super-Pharisees and ultra-saints. Receiving God's gifts is a simple movement of stooping lower."
~A. V. One Thousand Gifts

She also quoted F.B. Meyer: "I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts."

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; 
because the LORD hath anointed me to publish good tidings to the meek; 
he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, 
to proclaim liberty to the captives, 
and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; 

to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, 

to give to them beauty for ashes, 
the oil of joy for mourning, 
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; 
that they may be called trees of righteousness, 
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified."
~Isaiah 61:1-3

What is lower than ashes? Than mourning? Than a spirit of heaviness?

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