Lift Up Your Eyes

“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” (PS. 121:1-2).

Those words are the opening statements or pictures from Psalm 121. It was my mother’s favorite Scripture. Even as a child I knew that it was her favorite of the Psalms. I had no idea what it meant or why it was so precious to her. I can even remember seeing these verses in her handwriting in various places. Then there were plates and plaques around our home that had it written down so that everyone could read it. As I grew older, I realized that her love for this Psalm may have come out of her own upbringing as she lived with her family in the foothills of the Ozarks in Arkansas.

The trips to see my grandparents over in Northwest Arkansas allowed us to see the mountains as we called them as the peaks rose up out of the beautiful countryside of that area. Later after I was grown and knew more about life and more about what my parents had gone through and struggled with in raising a family and building a home for us, I understood the Psalm better and her connection to it better as I realized it was not just the mountains that either she or David looked at but lifting up their eyes, they looked to the Lord. “My help cometh from the Lord,” and her help certainly did.

For me, living most of my life in Mississippi, I can lift up my eyes to some giant oak trees but that is about it. There are no big mountains in our state and even our largest mountain barely qualifies as a hill in most places. Still, I have learned to lift up my eyes from whence cometh my help and to understand my help comes from the Lord. When you keep your eyes focused above, it is amazing what you will find and what you can experience. Just recently, I looked up and experienced new things.

First of all, I was captured by new heights. I am constantly amazed at the skies, the twinkling stars and the dark of night when I realize how far away they are. Because the distance is so far, for centuries scientists have measured the distance not just in miles but in light years. It is incredible to think about those twinkling objects at night that are so far away. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. Multiply that and you will see how far away some of the stars that we can observe actually are. They are light years away or even decades away. To put it in perspective, our closest star to the earth is our own sun. While it is said to be 93 million miles away, as light travels it is only eight minutes away. Now if sometime you get stuck in the humdrum of life, and you feel like there are no new horizons, no new ventures and no new heights to climb, just look up and realize that not only in the heavens but all around in the horizon of your life there are heights that you have not climbed. While many of those heights may be totally out of reach for us, it would be well worth our time to stop and think about climbing to new heights in relationships, in service to our Lord and in blessings provided to others in ways that we have never even thought about.

Secondly, I experienced new honks. It was the first few days of fall and early in the morning as I was walking, I heard something off in the distance. It was a huge flock of Canadian Geese flying in V-formation headed south and honking with every breath. It was the dawn of the day, almost pre-dawn. The sun had not even peeped over the lip of the horizon, but I could hear them and so I scanned among the trees and beyond to the skyline. Soon there was the whole choir of traveling Canadian Geese. I tried to pick out the tune they were playing, but I don’t think that I had ever heard it. I assumed that it was a contemporary song, but I also thought that it was a beautiful thing to hear. Even from the distance, I could hear different, very diverse but distinct sounds. Some seemed to be honking in the upper ranges, some in the middle and a few basses seemed to have joined them. Soon they were flying directly overhead and then on into the distance, having come my way and blessed me in the process. Some may have heard them and just pushed it aside because they were geese. Others may have ignored it because it was not their type of music, but I tried to accept it for what it was and accept them for what they are. I was blessed by their heavenly honks.

Thirdly, the most consistent thing that comes to my life is new help day by day. My help cometh from the Lord for He will not abandon me, He will not forsake me and He will not hurt me. He wants to help me. So it is that day after day I look up, not just to find stars and geese but to find a sense of the awesome presence of God as He wraps His arms around me and says once again, “You are my child. I love you.” That overwhelms me for I know that I am less than a loveable kid in His kingdom and that sometimes He probably wants to turn me over His knee, or put me in timeout or just ignore me. But instead, He loves me and He is determined to keep on loving me in spite of my ornery, ill-spirited and unlovable self. So regardless of what is happening whether shortages, struggles, sickness, crummy, challenging or convoluted days and ways of life, I am going to look up. It will be worth your time to stop and lift up your eyes unto the hills and beyond that see the Lord who today will be your help.

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer