When the World Is Upside Down

It was many years ago when on vacation with our children, we went by one of those theme places in which they had some strange presentations of different ideas and thoughts. I don’t remember if it was “believe it or not” kinds of things or exactly what it was, but one of the things that we could do was go through a house that was built upside down. I could see it from the outside, but when I entered my perspectives got warped and twisted around. I’ll never forget that suddenly the whole world around me looked different than I had ever seen it before. We went through a door that was upside down. There we were, walking along the ceiling. In the middle of the floor there was a chandelier and above our heads were chairs that were upside down. A table was upside down. The television was upside down. Cups and glasses all were hanging from what was now the ceiling that used to be the floor. The bedroom had a normal-looking bed, except it was upside down and hanging on the ceiling. Pictures on the walls were upside down and while I knew that’s what I was walking into, the sights and sounds and sensors with which I had always lived were twisted inside out and upside down as we moved from place to place, room to room.

Everywhere I went in the house, it was that same way. I remember thinking about halfway through, I’ll be glad when I get out of here. It was not a house of horrors, though it became a house of strange feelings and uncertainty because I had never been in that part of the world with things like that. It made such an impression on me that decades later I still remember it. Today, here in our wonderful country, maybe on the entire globe, I feel as though we’re living in a world that is turned upside down. From a moral and spiritual perspective that is for sure the reality, but it is not shocking to God. In fact, the current state of the world was revealed by His prophet Isaiah when he warned of the day when people were going to be present in a world that was whopper-jawed and upside down and crossways. Here’s the way he said it in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Everything is turned around.

The great prophet is talking about spiritual things, things of God, and today we live in the kind of world where all the things that seem to have once been solid and right, upon which you could build your life, have been discredited and set aside, and those things that were strange and weird and even harmful have been brought into play and made to look as if those are the best things for us to do. I think about simple things that suddenly are out of place. Let me show you the contrast by way of a true story.

Recently a young boy about ten or eleven years old got into trouble at school. Here’s the problem. His mother would fix his lunch and in the lunch box she would put a verse of Scripture so when he ate lunch there it would be, an age-appropriate verse from her that he could read and think about. One day while he was eating his lunch at school, the strip of paper that had the verse on it was seen by a fellow classmate. The boy reached over and grabbed the verse and said, “What is this?” The boy said, “That’s a verse of Scripture from the Bible.” The boy read it and said, “Can I have this?” The young boy simply said, “Yes, you can have it.”

When the boy got home, his mother asked him about the Bible verse because he usually brought it back home with him. He said that a friend got it and wanted to keep it. She said, “Well, that’s fine. In fact, if you want to take several, maybe other friends of yours would like to have the Bible verses.” This was not a mass distribution to everybody in the class, but he took some additional verses of Scripture. He just gave the verses away at lunch time to friends who wanted them. It wasn’t long before school administrators heard about this and saw this and knew this certainly had to be stopped. They told him not to do that anymore, that he couldn’t pass out the Scriptures to other people. Yet the students kept wanting the verses, so the school administration enforcers told the young guy he was going to be in serious trouble if he didn’t stop giving out the Bible verses.

Contrast that with all the schools you can go to all across our land where children just a little older than this boy can go to the authorities at school and get birth control without asking their parents, without telling anyone, and for free. It’s one of those things that if by chance they are going to be sexually active, they’re encouraged to get the pills and devices and have them available. Imagine a child, a boy or a girl, who encounters this but has been brought up in a home where sex is considered a gift from God, where God has placed caring parameters around him/her, that they should not be having sex before marriage? One young boy can be stopped from handing out Bible verses at school, but the same school can hand out contraceptives to children and that’s perfectly all right. It is a world turned upside down.

Of course it doesn’t stop there. It’s seen almost everywhere. Prayer has been taken out of schools. The mention of God gets immediately attacked, and anyone graduating from high school who is going to speak has to have their speech scrubbed beforehand to make sure anything that would highlight or even mention God is removed. Yet on the other hand, things that are against God can be mentioned and even encouraged.

Today, you and I need to come to grips with the reality that our world is turned upside down. We should not be mired in despair but rather turn to the clear, unchanging, reliable Word of God! Before you head out into this world of strangeness, look to Him and make His perspective yours. Let Him guide you. While the world may not straighten up today, we can walk straight in a mixed-up society.

The author can be contacted at directions@mbcb.org.

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer