Have you ever sat and thought about the word lift? Probably not, because you’re not as weird as I am. But this morning in church I started thinking about this word: lift. We have been studying the 15 Songs of Ascents in the book of Psalms in the Bible. This week we took a look at Psalm 123, which literally begins with the words, “I lift my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven.” As I thought about the word lift, I realized it is an action verb, meaning: in order to lift something (like your eyes) you have to physically DO something. It is not a passive verb, such as “to think” “to want” or “to remind.” Lifting your eyes requires not only physical action but also putting forth effort in order to raise or elevate something (or someone) higher.
I believe often people think of God as this all-powerful being, or the “spirit in the sky” who lives up in heaven, far out of reach and incommunicable. But that is the furthest thing from the truth. When I lift my eyes up to heaven, it is not as a miniscule ant looking up to a giant aloof being; but rather it is an act of submission in reverence to the Almighty Creator of the universe. He is high and mighty not in a narcissistic way, but in a God-way – that is to say, He simply is literally ALL-mighty. It’s a fact. Anyways, when you look UP, you are not looking at yourself any longer, are you? Your eyes are literally taken off of yourself when you focus all your attention on the One who created you. It’s amazing, isn’t it?! For me, the best way to get myself off of my mind is to look up to God and find out what He has to say about me, my purpose in life, and His love for me.
Just two chapters before Psalm 123, the more widely known Psalm 121 begins, “I lift my eyes up to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” The writer clearly states that the LORD God is the one who is in charge; literally God is the one sitting on the throne (Psalm 123:1). Since God is the only one in control, it follows that I must look up to Him – seek Him – for help, just as the psalmist says in Psalm 121:2. It makes sense that the creator has power over what he has created; just as a painter has the authority over his own artwork to say where it should be hung, what fame in which to put it, how much it should be sold for, etc. However, unlike a human artist, God retains influence over his creations once they have left His hands, though he entrusts his masterpieces to us humans. For example, God creates each and every baby (even unborn ones) uniquely just as an artist would shape and mold clay to create something beautiful and one-of-a-kind. But once a baby is born, God lets the parent(s) have responsibility for that little life – even though He still retains influence because He is the original sculptor.
Often, our culture asserts that God is only there to make our lives hunky-dory and keep us happy and content, and if He doesn’t fulfill our expectations of what the fairy tale “happily ever after” should look like, then we think He has abandoned us, hates us, doesn’t care about us, or never even existed at all. All too often we get addicted to our perception of what a “perfect” life should look like according to cinema, romance novels, or famous celebrity lifestyles. But the truth is that God is the original inventor of happiness and fulfillment in life, so how could He not care?
The bottom line is: what you believe about God’s adequacy. Is God enough for you? Do you truly believe that God is in control of your life and sufficiently able to handle all the ups and downs of it? I implore you; take a good, long look at what you truly believe about the One who created you! As Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world…” Life may not always be rosy-cheeked and peachy-keen, but the fact is that God is ALWAYS in control.