Don’t Forget to Look Up!

Don’t forget to look up. I say this to myself when I am in the ‘home place’. Greenville, Maine is a beautiful picturesque town with mountains, lakes, rivers and forests. But here, as everywhere, there are things that must be done so it is easy to be busy.  There is wood to stack, windows to clean, dishes to wash, card games to play and so on and so forth, as Gramps would say.  And I need to get my daily run in. I enjoy these wonderfully normal moments of everyday life but sometimes I forget to look at the beauty all around me.

So this week at the end of a run as I was walking up the last hill, I purposely turned around and looked up to see this.IMG_6205

Amazing. Beautiful. Lovely. Truly awesome. I think the beauty of this place is a reflection and reminder of the Creator. I will lift up my eyes to the hills, says the Psalmist; My help comes from the maker of all.

As I look at all the beauty around me I realize I need to look up with more than my eyes. Like how about my heart, my soul, my mind. It is easy to get all caught up in the everyday circumstances of life. I am in that muddled state on a regular basis. So look up, I say to myself.

Look up …..at Jesus on the cross. See his love.

Look up…at the Risen Christ. See his power.

Look up …..at the Author and Completer of your faith, the Lover of your soul, the Keeper of your heart.

So I am looking up and sighing and resting and smiling and laughing with thanksgiving and joy.

He is more amazing than his creation, more beautiful than the stars, more lovely than the most exquisite flower. He is powerful, and loving and truly awesome.
There is a phrase in Pidgin English that expresses the superlative in a simple and clear way. Bilong winim ol. The nth degree. The most. The extreme. That is the God we look up to. He is good and powerful and just and loving – bilong winim ol!

I was thinking about all this while on my way to visit a friend this week and the song, Turn Your eyes upon Jesus just happened  providentially played on the radio. So I have been singing it both reviewing and anticipating God’s kind and never-ending work in my life.

The first verse begins, O soul, are you weary and troubled? I have been making up new verses to fit my day. Oh soul, are you muddled and harried? Oh soul, are you sad and worried? Oh soul, are you happy, busy, hurting, rejoicing, desperate? Every day’s story is unique and different with an infinite number of circumstances or choices.

But the chorus is always the same….

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Look full in his wonderful face.

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of his glory and grace.

Yes, indeed. Whatever your story is today, don’t forget to look up.

 

Jesus Never Promised I’d be Pretty

stone of helpJesus never promised I’d be pretty. This I said to my husband as I looked at the gash on my face from a relatively minor skin cancer op. Then I put on my running shoes and headed out to run and think.

I thought of all the things God never promised. He did not promise Adam and Eve they could do their own thing with no consequences.   He did not tell Job there would be no trials in his life. He didn’t tell the Psalmist there would be no valley of the shadow of death. He did not promise the NT believers that they would not suffer tribulation. He did not tell the martyrs throughout the ages that they would not suffer for the gospel. He did not tell Corrie Ten Boom that her life would be persecution free. He did not promise Nate Saint that his mission to the Auca Indians would bear fruit in his lifetime. He did not promise us a hassle free, easy, perfect life.

But He did promise to be with us- in the valley, on the mountain top, on the level path, even unto the end of the age. He promised to save us to the uttermost, completely and forever. He promised to always intercede for us; in fact, he ever lives to do this. He promised peace that passes all understanding. And he promised that when all is said and done our tears will be wiped away and we will live with Him forever. I love all the superlatives – the most, the best, the highest. Extreme promises.

All the promises of God are yes, says the Bible. I like that. To which we say, amen . That means, by the way, another yes. A resounding unqualified yes……..

As is often the case when I run a song kept coming to my mind.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I’m come;
Samuel, after a God given, miraculous victory, placed a stone as a reminder that God gave victory, salvation and help. He called it

ebenezer

Ebenezer, the stone of help, and said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

.Ayuh, I thought as I finished my run. I think I’ll go find a stone or better yet many stones and emblazon upon them the promises of God. I could put them on my windowsills, bookcases, bedside stands, places where I can see them every day.

But then I remember that God’s very words are already written on my heart.

And that, my own personal Ebenezer, I raise.