(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Song of Ascent
By McKenzi Matsick
Life is a journey, and we are the travelers who are trekking through the vast places of this world. Some of us have reached yet another mountain top, while others are in deep valleys, wondering when they are going to start the climb to bigger and better things ahead.
Each of us come from a different walk of life, but do you want to know the incredible part? We are all the same, equally created in the image of our Creator.
As we all know it, this year has not been the easiest so far, and we have battled through a pandemic, as well as through the unfairness and injustice that is caused by the sin of this world. We have suffered, laughed, cried, learned, shared, created, and so much more. It truly has been a time of growth, and in fact, a year of growth for us all.
In the book of Psalms, there are fifteen chapters that are identified as the “Song of Ascents.” These chapters (Psalms 120-134) are the series of psalms that Hebrew pilgrims sang on their way to Jerusalem. They, too, were on a journey and would ask God to deliver them from time to time with their troubles, and as God would deliver them, they would praise Him every time.
I have always loved Psalm 121:1-2, which says in the ESV version, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” It is as if the pilgrims were looking up from a valley, trying to seek after hope and help for their struggles. They knew and placed their trust in the fact that the only way they could get through their darkest times was with the Lord.
Fast-forward to Psalm 124, and it can be seen that the pilgrims were praising the Lord and saying that if it had not been for Him, they would have been swallowed up by their enemies.
Just like the Hebrew sojourners went through the cycles of life, it is evident that we go through the same all the time. As a nation, we are in a deep valley right now, looking all around to see where our help and hope is. We are crying out to be heard, seen, loved, valued, and cherished by people who are in opposition against us, and over and over, we are continuously let down.
Friend, I want to encourage you to look up. Instead of looking at the chaos surrounding you as you are on the “climb” of life, fix your eyes on Jesus and keep pressing toward the mark of what He has for you.
Peter began to sink in the seas around him when he took his eyes off of Jesus while walking on the water. If he would have kept his eyes on his Savior like he did to begin with, he wouldn’t have sunk. No matter how many times we take our eyes off of God, He will always be faithful in pulling us out, getting us back on our feet, and guiding our thoughts, beliefs, words, and actions in this world. He is our only constant when everything around us is chaos.
There is a song called the “Song of Ascent” by Hillsong UNITED, and the lyrics ring so good and true during this time we are in. The chorus goes, “So I will praise You on the mountain/and I will praise You when the mountain’s in my way/ You’re the summit where my feet are, so I will praise You in the valleys all the same/ No less God within the shadows, no less faithful when the night leads me astray/ You’re the heaven where my heart is, in the highlands and the heartache all the same.”
May we lift our eyes up, pray, and earnestly seek God’s faithfulness, love, justice, and truth that speaks louder than anything we could ever say here on this earth. May we do so in a continuous pursuit, pressing forward step-by-step into where God leads us in this life. He alone is faithful and constant no matter the situation.
Find out more about McKenzi by visiting www.cactusroseco.org