Look Up

Tim Clinton, Ed.D.

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When it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. – G. K. Chesterton

The devil is not terribly frightened of our human efforts and credentials. But he knows his kingdom will be damaged when we begin to lift up our hearts to God. – Jim Cymbala

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? Hope in God…” – King David

 

Downcast.

Does that describe your world?  Are you discouraged?  May be even a little depressed?  Has life gotten the best of you? Is there seemingly little or no hope?

The Hebrew word for downcast – shachach – means to be bowed over… weakened …despairing… brought low.

The Psalmist David knew what it meant to feel downcast in his heart and soul.  Even after being anointed King, he ran for his life from Saul for many years.  He dodged spears and lived in caves.  In one of these dark moments he cried out, “My enemies are vigorous and strong; and many are those who hate me wrongfully.” (Psalm 38:19 NAS)  At another point he was brutally honest about how he felt –  “O God, My soul is cast down within me.” (Psalm 42:6 ESV)

But I love where David’s heart always goes in the midst of it all.  He writes in Psalm 121:1-2 – “I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD…”  Looking to the hills was symbolic of lifting your concentration from the problem to the One who could help.   

He goes on to proclaim the “why” behind the help from the LORD:

The LORD made heaven and earth.
The LORD doesn’t sleep.
The LORD is our keeper.
The LORD is our shade.
The LORD will keep us from all evil.

Notice the following New Testament verses:

 “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)

“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NAS)

“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 ESV)

What’s interesting is that when Jesus prayed, He “lifted up His eyes to heaven” (Matthew 14:19, John 14:41, John 17:1)  The very Son of God knew where His help came from.

Let’s go back to David in Psalm 42.  He discovers the depth of this truth in his own journey when he asks again, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  With a spirit of confident expectation he answers, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 42:11 ESV)

It’s time to lift up your face.

See the One whom the great Apostle Paul describes as…The blessed and only Sovereign…The King eternal… Immortal…Invisible…He who dwells in unapproachable light…The King of Kings…The Lord of Lords…The only God.    (1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15-16 ESV)

And I’ll add…the One who “loves you with an everlasting love…” (Jeremiah 31:3 ESV)

Look up.  It will turn your life around.

 


 

Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC, LMFT (The College of William and Mary) is President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. Licensed in Virginia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, Tim now spends a majority of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He is recognized as a world leader in faith and mental health issues and has authored over 20 books including Breakthrough: When to Give In, When to Push Back. Most importantly, Tim has been married 36 years to his wife Julie and together they have two children, Megan, who recently married Ben Allison and is practicing medicine in dermatology, and Zach, who plays baseball at Liberty University. In his free time, you’ll find him outdoors or at a game with family and friends.

Posted on: Jan. 31, 2017, 9 p.m.