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Why We Need Lifted Eyes (Psalm 121:1-2)

Why We Need Lifted Eyes (Psalm 121:1-2)

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

I lift up my eyes. Up. Out of the dirt and the jumbled up mess of life. Out of the pictures of suffering and striving that loom around me. Out of the conflicts and hordes of horizontal events and distractions that pull me, hang on me, grasp at me.

I lift up my eyes.

But then, there is a daddy I know, whose choices make me hurt. His children long for a hero, and he longs to prove himself to parents who live with the rejection of theirs who live with the rejection of theirs and so on. And the spiraling haze covers it all with the color of hopelessness. I want to close my eyes and believe that if I can’t see the situation, it’s gone. Not there.

And then, a few blinks away, there is this mess of betrayal and broken relationships that nag at my vision. I picture the conversations – what he said and she said and then they said. My eyes look long at the pain. I keep staring, and it’s straining my heart.

Because, my heart follows my gaze, and my thoughts follow what I behold.

And I can’t close my eyes to the realities around me. I can’t shut out the pain and the bruising madness of a fallen world. I can’t just ignore it and will it away. My eyes must stay open --

But, they can be lifted.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

Today, I don’t understand. I can’t make sense of peoples’ actions or my own heart or the reason for that young girl who is crying today, but this one thing I know: It’s time to lift up my eyes-past the haze, past the messes, past the sources of pain.

Because here we are, bent over by it all, with the cross before us. And, while we analyze and stare at the crumbled world -- He’s there, up there, suspended for a purpose. Yes, Hope hangs above it all, and just a glance redeems and strengthens.

For Jesus was lifted – lifted high on a cross so that our sin-weary eyes could be lifted above it all.

That heaviness on your heart? That mess working its way back into your mind (although you’ve tried to lay it down a million times)? It’s for this that He died. He died for this needed to be redeemed. This breaking and this crumbling was His reason and His gain and His glory. Maybe we wish there really weren’t visual reasons for His dying - because when our eyes are met with the mess of this world – which is just evidence of humanity in need of a Savior - we bury our faces and gasp. How quickly we are disheartened – as if a fallen world should be able to stay upright by its own goodness and shouldn’t keep stumbling down. How quickly we forget, when our eyes are not lifted up.

But, praise God, our Father turned His eyes away so we don’t have to. We can look long, fixate, gape open-mouthed at the picture that saves our lives. That scene with Love giving up Himself for the eventual redemption and the healing of sin-sickness -

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:14-15

That’s not all, though. Jesus didn’t just stay there, up on a cross – dying for a world spinning in sin and disregard.

He rose - upward and upward. He conquered the horizontals that hold us. From the depths of a grave to the highest of Heaven, He reigns.

And today, when there is no hope of untangling certain situations or attitudes, He leans in and says the surprising: “I beat that. And that, too. Look here, up here, and see a Love that won.” Because He promises to pull close everyone who looks to Him. He says, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32

For real living, victorious living that soars above the muck of this world, is found in a vertical relationship with the One who was buried deep and rose high.

Victory is found in a vertical relationship with the One who was buried deep & rose high.

May our eyes be lifted today above the horizontals, searching for His beauty in the midst of battle and His love in the midst of loss. May we focus on the One who will redeem it all.

Let’s lift up our eyes.