Some years ago I had the blessing of visiting Spain. One sight I saw many times in the countryside were shepherds walking with their sheep. It was the typical picture I’d seen only in paintings – the sheep all herded together, baa-ing and bleating, while the shepherd walked, a bit stooped over as he cared for them and guided them. The shepherd bends over so the sheep can look up.
It’s so easy for us to let the cares that surround us cause our hearts and heads to be bowed down, isn’t it? All we have to say is 2020, and everyone nods. We get it. This hard year has often caused my own heart and head to be bowed down. Just this week I’ve heard of these hard things…
- Emergency appendectomy
- Reconstructive surgery following cancer
- Covid outbreaks
- Cancellations of long-awaited plans
- People who are isolated and lonely
- Stressed-out mom, worn down emotionally
But wait, little sheep! We have a Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Who carefully watches over us. He bends His ear to our cries and He reaches out to guide and comfort us in our heartache. Proverbs 2:8 reminds us that He preserves the paths of His saints. The Lord IS shepherding us, but we have a responsibility. We find it in Psalm 121 ~
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
Did you catch it in verse one? I will – This signifies that the psalmist makes a choice of his will (a volitional choice) to look up to God. How often when faced with a test, trial or affliction, I choose to look down in self-pity or around at adverse circumstances, rather than gazing upward to my Omnipotent Father!
This also indicates that the psalmists recognizes that man continually stands in need of and dependence on the Lord’s help. He waits — he expects — he obtains. The truest vision is soul-vision. Looking up in contemplation, expectation. He looks “Up,” from the mud and mire of earth, and the sins and sorrows of self.
What “mud pit” are you looking up from today? Sickness? Disappointment? Loss? Grief? Sin? Hardship? We each need to have a little personal dialogue like the psalmist had and say, “I Will Look Up!” This isn’t just some kind of psycho babble…this is based on doctrine…on His Word here in Psalm 121. He is your keeper. He will preserve (keep) your going out and coming in. Our Shepherd is bent over us. That means we can look up to Him! He will care for us, provide for us and lead us home.
When the out -look is bleak
Remember the up -look.
The Good Shepherd is the One who made those hills, and He hasn’t forgotten you! Look up!