The group was all signed onto the Zoom class. Amanda was the first to speak. “Ms. N, I have to tell you. When you said you live in an ‘alternate reality spiritually,’ alarm bells went off in my head. Could you talk some more about what you meant?”
Nannygranne smiled. “Amanda, I love how your mind works. You’re not satisfied with somebody just saying something. You want to understand and measure your understanding with what you KNOW to be fact and reality. I’m going to answer your question by asking some questions. Is that okay with you guys? I think you’ll see where I was coming from.”
The students nodded.
“All right. Everybody, grab a piece of paper in front of you and draw a vertical line down the middle of it. On the left side of your paper, write the word ‘FACT,’ and on the right, the word ‘FAITH.’ I’ll do one myself as well.”
The students did as instructed, then looked up for the next step.
“Now, as I name a few things, I want you to write the name of that item where it fits. If it’s real and factual, write it on the left of the line. If something requires faith and isn’t real or factual, write it on the ‘FAITH’ side. Okay. Taxes, sports, schoolwork, Santa Claus…”
One of the girls said, “I believe in Santa Claus! I have to, or I won’t get presents!!” The other girls laughed.
Nannygranne continued. “Resurrection, Jesus, Bible, church, heaven, love.”
She waited a few seconds, then asked, “Which word gave you the most trouble?”
Some said Jesus. Some said the Bible.
“Alright, I’m going to hold up my paper, and let’s compare.” Nannygranne showed her paper. The only item written under “Faith” was Santa Claus.
Again, Nannygranne waited a few moments for the information to sink in. Then she asked for input.
Amanda looked puzzled. “But I thought we believed because we had faith in God, not because we could see Him or touch Him. I don’t understand.” The other faces on the screen reflected her confusion.
“Well, here’s why I answered the way I did. I believe that the resurrection of Jesus’ body can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. I also know Jesus was a real person who lived over 2000 years ago. So, I believe in Jesus. Further, the Bible has also been shown to be valid historically, archaeologically, and even scientifically. Therefore, I am convinced it is supernatural and from God. Since the Bible talks about the church and Heaven and above all, love, I know they truly exist, and for that reason, they are facts and therefore, reality. Hebrews says that faith is substance and evidence in Hebrews 11:1. Faith is trusting in the facts. So, it’s reasonable for me to live from the perspective that all those things are real, including the spiritual kingdom of Jesus, my King. That’s my alternative to just existing day by day in this fallen world. Does that make me sound a little more rational?”2
“Wow! I’ve never looked at it that way. I think I see what you’re saying.”
“All right then, now we’re ready to talk about the secret upside-down kingdom. What have we learned so far?”
Abbey spoke up. “We’ve learned that God had a plan from before He even made the world.”
“And that He was getting everything ready and has established His Kingdom,” added Heather.
“Good! Everybody turn to John 18: 35. Jesus and Pilate are having a conversation about Jesus being King.”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”
“Can anyone remember anything Jesus said that seemed to go against everything that normally makes sense to us? Look through Matthew 5-7, the sermon on the mount. Call out what you see.”
Natalie read, “Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you…”
Heather added, “Reach agreement quickly with your accuser while on the way to court, or he may hand you over to be thrown into prison.”
“If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away…..Oh gross!” Amanda said. But then she said, “Yes, I know it means to distance yourself from anything that would bring you down, spiritually.”
“Here’s another one,” Heather pointed out. “Do not resist the evildoer…turn the other cheek…”
Other voices chimed in: “Love your enemy.” “When you are giving, do it in secret.”
Amanda spoke up again. “Chapter 6, verse 28! ‘Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers grow’… Don’t worry saying, ‘what will we eat’ … Do not worry about tomorrow.’ THAT’s different from the way we think.”
Nannygranne nodded, then directed them to other verses. “Luke 22:26 says, ‘The one who is greatest among you must become like the youngest and the leader like the one who serves.’ And on several occasions, Jesus told His followers, ‘For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’1 Do you see a pattern forming here?”
Heather raised her hand. “Jesus’ Kingdom operates opposite of human kingdoms. Leaders of countries want to keep power and money and walk over their own people to get to the top. Jesus’ Kingdom is the opposite.”
Amanda added thoughtfully, “Upside down….”
Nannygranne leaned forward, speaking purposely, emphasizing the significance of her next words. “And that’s the mystery of the upside-down kingdom, girls. Deep joy in any circumstance, real power to change the world one heart at a time, authentic strength that overcomes the impossible, and absolute security are all found only in living the upside-down way of life in this spiritual kingdom. It’s walking with our King right now. That’s what’s real. Trust me. It’s the only life that ultimately works. “
After a few seconds, Natalie added, “And we can live that life forever, right? Even that fact is upside down. Every world power ends eventually. Jesus’ kingdom is eternal.”
The silence seemed right at that moment. Everyone seemed to relish the sweet taste of truth.
“Any other thoughts? Questions?”
Finally Amanda said, “No, I think we just need to pray. The mystery’s been solved.”
1 Lose life to save it. Mathew 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; Luke 17:33