Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week #9 Psalm 121:1-2 "Focusing on God"

"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."

I often wondered what the writer of this psalm was thinking when he looked to the hills. As I have been told over the years, the hills surrounding Jerusalem were fraught with danger. Thieves hid in the hills, waiting to rob the unfortunate and defenseless traveler. I have been told that psalms such as these are talking about our needing God's help and protection during those times when we are literally or figuratively wandering through the hills of life.

Yes, that makes sense, but that is not all that resonated with me tonight...or during this week as I meditated on this wonderful scripture.

I also read a beautiful story about a woman's eyesight and the advice her doctor gave her. It seems that woman's job demanded constant close-up reading, which was straining her eyes. The doctor told her she needed to rest her eyes more often, and asked her what she could see out her window at her workplace. She answered that she could see mountains and hills.

The physician replied that she needed to look at the mountains for 10-20 minutes a day to feel better.

And thus, it is with the eyes of our soul. We spend so much time focusing on our problems and immediate circumstances. We need to look up, to the LORD, for the proper spiritual perspective and help.

I am guilty of this. I find it easy to be overwhelmed with my immediate circumstances, thinking that those circumstances are my universe. And what advice do I find myself listening to? The well-meaning words of my friends, associates, self-help books and popular culture. Yes, many voices within our culture try to sound "inspiring" and "healing," but I need to keep listening with more discernment. In some cases, I shouldn't listen at all.

Where I live, I have a gorgeous view of the bay. And what is beyond that bay off into the distant horizon? On a clear day, I can gaze upon the Olympic Mountains.

Simply looking up to the mountains reminds me that there is majesty, power and greatness beyond my circumstances. I can see something beautiful that isn't affected by my neighborhood, the gulch below my street or even the wonderful bay beyond that.

In other words, I need to keep on being heavenly-minded. "My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." God is the One who will guide me, provide for me and help me through the circumstances in life that overwhelm me. I need to look beyond myself. I and my problems are not the center of the universe.

Looking at those Olympic Mountains (and if I travel a few blocks away in another direction, I can gaze upon Mt. Rainier) reminds me of that. It comforts and encourages.

Oh, and one more thing. Focusing on God, when we are so spiritually near-sighted is difficult. We can't always see Him in our lives. So it is living in the Pacific Northwest. With all our clouds and rain, I can't always see the mountains. But I know they're there. Just like I know God is there.

Wow...there IS a spiritual advantage to living in rain country! Praise God.

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