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Mt. Everest versus the Challenger Deep

July 13, 2013

Mt. Everest
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.’” JEREMIAH 9:23, 24 ESV
It is an amazing fact that man, no matter how humble their circumstance, will find something to boast about in comparison with another. The worm of pride shades our eyes from seeing ourselves or others clearly and has one beggar decrying the others’ filthy rags. I had this brought to my attention while incarcerated one night while reading the above verse from Jeremiah.
By that particular night I’d been ‘inside’ for several years and was ‘adjusting’ to my new milieu far too well despite having made a commitment to follow Messiah. In many ways I was different from others, choosing not to follow the crowd in the typical games and nonsense that fills our prisons (and society ‘outside’ as well) with pain. But reading that verse, it was if God had pulled me up by the scruff of the neck and shaken me. I couldn’t read any further; I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page of the Bible I held as that “…low whisper…” (1 Kings 19:12 ESV) showed me the instances where I had belittled others in my own heart, if not openly, for what I perceived as their being of so much less worth than I (is it any wonder that particular letter is the hinge of prIde?).
We are all beggars, we are all needy and destitute despite the all-too-thin veneer of respectability we clothe ourselves with each day. Whatever profession we busy ourselves with or the possessions we have accumulated, we are all sons of Adam and bereft of anything that can be called good by any objective standard. In comparison to others it does seem that some are better off, but looking at mankind from outside mankind’s standards of success we are all miserable beings bereft of hope for ever changing in and of ourselves. Mount Everest is the highest peak on the planet at 8,848 meters (29,029 ft.) above sea level and the Challenger Deep off the Marianas Islands is the deepest known point on Earth at 10,898 meters (35,755 ft.) below sea level; two vastly different measures of height and depth, yet from the surface of the moon they both seem equal! These two points on our planet’s surface are separated by 19,746 meters (69,784 ft.) much as the difference between a ‘law-abiding,’ ‘successful’ citizen and some decrepit individual languishing in prison or some back alley garbage heap. But what does God see?

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