June 28, 2014

Looking Up...Again!

I am looking up again. I have been staring down at my feet for the past couple weeks, and today, I decided it was high time that I looked up. It is funny how we do that, well, how I do that. I mean, when I go for a walk (around the block or on a hike,) I tend to look at the trail rather than at the scenery alongside the trail. I think it is a habit developed because of my poor eyesight. As a child, I always walked into things. It was a normal thing for me to walk into walls, fall up the stairs, or trip over a curb. I was labeled as klutzy or clumsy, but the truth more than likely was that my eyesight caused issues with depth perception. I wasn't able to judge distances between steps, walls, or even uneven surfaces. I did grow out of the klutzy stage so part was because of my age (child to teen). I think that those early experiences caused me to stress over my stability and to counteract my proclivity toward tripping or falling, I started looking down at my feet. Physically I look down, but mentally and spiritually, I should be looking up. I don't do it, however, and as a result, I think this downward gaze has created within me a dependency toward timidity when walking. Let me explain...

God asks us to look up, to look to Him as our sufficiency. He is our Creator and as such He is able to do all things for us. Isaiah 40:26 says,

"Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing."

Likewise Psalm 121:1 says,

"I look up to the mountains--does my help come from there?"

And again we read in Psalm 123:

"I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven."

I believe the reason why the psalmist and the prophet say that we are to "look up" is to remind us that God's perspective on matters is far different from ours. We tend to look at our feet (our feet of clay - a reference to Daniel 2) and see only our limited view. We base our rightness, our judgment, and our views on what is seen clearly around us. Now, I am not saying that we shouldn't have a pragmatic or realistic view of our world, may it never be. I think it is vital to have a firm grounding, to know the difference between worldly things and spiritual things. And, I am not saying that we should walk around with rose colored glasses on all the time. Seeing the glass as half-full is a good thing, but there are times when no matter how much you want that glass to be half-full, in reality it is half-empty or almost completely empty. We need to have a realistic understanding and impression of our own fragility and the fragility of others (Romans 3:23). Yet, I do think that our perspective can be shaped by our willingness to consider our life from God's vantage point.

I wrote about this yesterday, how I felt that my viewpoint, my perspective, is skewed at times. I was thinking about my critical nature, and my ease with which I can critically assess situations (people or events). I understand myself well, and I know my strengths -- critical analysis is one of them. Still, I see how important it is not to be critical all the time, and how valuable it is to the Kingdom of God, to be less critical of others (at least to give them the benefit of grace).

My viewpoint, therefore, is not always spot-on. In truth, it is probably off-the-mark a lot of the time. Looking up can have a powerful influence over my ability to see the truth and to act correctly in light of that truth. I am reminded of the following scripture (2 Tim. 2:15):

"Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth."

I want to be a person who can correctly explain the word of truth. In the KJV, the word used for explain is handle. I like this word because it says to me that we are to handle, to hold, the word of God. It is not just something we speak, but it is a real living thing that can be held onto and shared. I want to handle the word of truth carefully, to share it and to explain it (yes) with great ability. In doing so, I will be a good worker (as Paul states).

This thought sets up the following scenario then:

If I am only looking down at my feet, only seeing the trail I am on -- am I missing the opportunity to minister to others around me? Perhaps there are people alongside the trail (or street) that I am walking by, people who need a word from me or a moment of my time?

Sigh! Conviction comes hard today! Yes, I believe it is so. I believe that I have the opportunity to minister to people standing next to me at the store, in line with me at the movies, or visiting with me online (on my blog, through email, or Facebook). I can be active and alive and a vital minister of God simply by lifting my head up and looking at the faces of people standing next to me.

Today's lesson is to look up, to consider that my life has far greater influence than I can imagine. God is able to use me today in the smallest of details. He can build a future for me out of bricks and stones. He can craft a path for me to follow. He can make a way (as the Don Moen song says) for me this day.

Dear Lord,

I am looking up to see your way, and to recognize that you have far more prepared for me than I can understand or grasp. I am not perfect, and I recognize that my failures are pronounced. Yet, I believe that despite all that I am not (perfect, good, holy, righteous, etc.) it is through my failings that you are made strong. My strength rests in your abilities to accomplish tasks in my life. My hope remains firmly attached to your Kingdom will. My glory, the little that there is, is a reflection of your Glory, and in that tiny reflection, I shine whatever achievements I have to my name, back to you. I want you to receive all the honor and the praise. I lift your Name high today because I believe that the plans you have for my life, the plans you have made and are working out, are good. May your plans come to pass this day, and may your Name be praised forevermore. I confess my utter dependency upon you, and I look up to wait upon your Holy Name this day. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah (pause and calmly think about it!)
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Looking-Heavenward#sthash.UmPMhCrN.dpuf
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Looking-Heavenward#sthash.UmPMhCrN.dpuf


Ken said...

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well" (Ps. 139:14, NKJV).

I really enjoyed reading this. God uses our joy as well as our pain and suffering to point us "up" to Him. I have been suffering from doubt and fear lately but I also know that God is in control and He still sits on His thrown. Whatever He allows, good or bad, it is for my good and His glory. In that I can take comfort.

Carol Hepburn said...

Thanks, Ken! I also struggle with doubt and fear, and I know how hard it can be at times to focus on what matters most. I often get sidetracked into worrying about things that I cannot control.

The good news is that God does have a good plan for your life, and He is always faithful.

May the Lord bless you and keep you in His good care this coming week.