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I Lift Up My Eyes

To quote the words of the psalmist:

“I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep…” (Psalm 121:1-4).

What are some of the first things that come to your mind when you read these verses? Hope and rest are the two words that immediately came to my mind. Two heart postures that I daily need right now and I’m certain you do too. I love the model of the psalms. Here we see the psalmist profess a step of action - to lift his eyes up towards the hills with his soul’s aching question not far from his mind. Right now, let’s take a moment to close our eyes and envision a vast landscape of rolling hills. As your imagination scans the scenic view, you can’t help but fix your gaze towards the point of the horizon. The overwhelming warmth of the sun touches your skin as you take a deep breath and feel a sudden sense of peace sweep over you. Despite the beauty of this moment however, that question of “who’s going to help” still burns in your mind...

"My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (v 2). Could it be that the One who made these hills; who set up the horizon, who produced the rich green grass, the wind that gently sways through the vigorous trees, He is the One who promises to be your help? The One whose power is beyond measure, whose greatness is unsearchable, whose very essence is good? Suddenly that sense of peace sinks even deeper into your soul. But there is even more awaiting you…

“He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (vv. 3-4). Around two weeks ago, the Holy Spirit spoke these particular verses to my heart. I was working out in my basement and my phone, with me for the purpose of music, kept buzzing. When I took a look, it was both texts and emails of urgent requests for prayers all related to the pandemic. I confess in that moment I felt so bombarded by the intensity of the situation at hand and what felt like a myriad amount of needs. I quickly experienced a sense of guilt at my heart’s response to the many needs and brought it to the Lord. Very quickly and similarly to that of the Psalmist, He spoke of Himself to my heart:

God is never overwhelmed or bombarded by our needs. He never feels like your burden is too great for Him to bear. He never feels like the burdens around us, those we read about in the news or hear from someone personally reaching out to us, are too big for His shoulders to carry. He never needs “a break” from our requests for help. He never grows weary of the boundless needs we all have. He is never tired or bothered by our urgent or mundane requests, in fact He tells us to ask. He is never fatigued in keeping us.

I have grown to love those moments of recognizing how wonderful our God is, how much greater His thoughts are, His heart, and His love. He is the firm foundation, He always is, and He always will be. Even when I feel weary, He never does.

So how should we respond?

1) Keep coming to the Lord. Keep lifting your eyes up to Him. Keep reminding yourself that He alone is your helper, the One who made the heavens and the earth. The One whose power is unsearchable, whose greatness none can fathom (Psalm 145:3).

2) Keep coming with the needs and requests of those around you. Invite the Holy Spirit every day to fill you back up with His heart and His prayers for your family, your community, your country, and our world during this time of a global pandemic. Ask Him to continue to show you who to partner with in prayer, that will help encourage you when it gets hard. Ask Him what resources you can use to help facilitate your prayer. Be humble enough to find ways to help you pray more when you need that boost of encouragement.

3) Remain in a posture of humility and confession before the Lord. Or perhaps, get into that position today. When you feel tired of praying, lay that at His feet. When you feel a sense of hopeless and despair sweep over you, lay that at His feet. When you feel annoyed by the endless urgent requests, lay that at His feet. When you feel exhausted and want to throw in the towel, lay that at His feet.

I pray that you, dear brother or sister would feast on Psalm 121 in its entirety. May your eyes daily, perhaps even moment by moment, look to the hills with your aching questions and concerns. And in those moments of asking, may your soul overwhelmingly know and rest in the truth that never changes -the LORD is our help. The Great I Am, the Creator of all things, He identifies Himself as our help. He promises to keep us firm and secure (“He will not let your foot be moved”), to keep our faith strong and active. He reminds us that He sees us now and nothing will take His sight off of us. So much more we could say, but I pray the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart, specifically what He knows you need right now and uses this word to encourage you today. May you also go and be an encouragement to those around you. Hope is ours. Rest is ours. They are found in the person of Jesus Christ. What a mighty God we serve.

-Nancy Martin

Today’s Bible Reading: Psalm 121; Psalm 145

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