"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. "
I am fully convinced that all men with Bachelor of Divinity degrees are psychic. (I am joking, obviously). Do you ever have moments like that though? You step into church, struggling with something, and as you listen to the message you are thinking, "Who told him! Who told him that I was struggling with this?" Answer: God. I don't think I'll hold it against Him.
This past Sunday morning, I sat in morning service. It had been two days since I had the first warning tremors of something big about to happen. I thought I had life under control. People asked me how I was doing. "Fine" I would answer. Truthfully, I am fine, except for this little riptide I am in right now. Other than that, I'm good. I figured I had it under control. I mean, I got through Saturday without crying, which is a fact I am very proud of.
Enter pastor's sermon.
For his opening illustration, he shared a phone conversation he had with his son's father-in-law (we really need to come up with a title for that). This man is a pastor out in California and has been given a year to live with his cancer. Pastor says he spoke with him and that this man said, "You don't realize how selfish you are until all of your chips are out." Fall, tear one.
Pastor went on to give a sermon on "The Upward Look." His base text was Psalm 121. I remember his points. The Upward Look brings salvation. The Upward Look brings hope. The Upward Look brings peace. The Upward Look brings action. All the while, I am sitting in my pew with tears streaming down my face. He opened the invitation with, "Is there something that is completely out of your hands. You know, we people, we try to help, but sometimes the only One who can help you is God."
As I hunted through my purse for my tissues all I kept thinking was, "How on earth did he find out?"
I needed that message. It was a booster shot to my weakened faith. Of course I know that I am supposed to be relying on God, but sometimes just hearing someone else say it helps.
Then this morning, in my morning devotions, I read a "leadership principle" taken from a Peace Corps commercial, of all places. The phrase: If you aren't doing something with your life, it doesn't matter how long it is.
I have been trying to practice the Upward Look. Trying to practice a selfless life. I still have so far to go. As I got my blood drawn for tests this morning, I prayed a silent prayer, "God, I don't know why. I don't understand why. As much as I want to know why, I also know that You are in control. You already know the results of this test. I admit, the possibilities scare me, but I know they don't scare You. You have planned this, for reasons I do not know. You have planned this to be part of my life. To be what I experience right now. Be my Help, Father. Be my Sufficiency. I know that You are with me, even now. Even in the valley of the shadow. However the outcome, use it for Your glory. That is the very reason I live and breathe. For Your glory, Lord. In Christ's name, Amen."
And the Upward Look brought peace.