(Photo by Selma Komisky)
All Creatures Here Below
By Iain Dick
We all know that seasons change. From the earliest age, we teach our kids about how Spring rolls into Summer, Summer to Fall, Fall to Winter, and so on in a continuous cycle.
Well, in 2020 I felt God prompt me that a season of my life was coming to an end. I had been involved in musical worship from the age of 16 and stepped into the role of worship leader in our church for 10 years. It’s now been over a year of not serving our local church in that capacity, and God has been so good in showing me the other areas that he’s gifted me in, and how that past season has shaped me.
Our Senior Pastor, who was very involved in worship ministry also, had always encouraged us in keeping our praise focused on God and His glory, refusing to give our circumstance a foot in the door of our praise. Practically speaking, that meant when leading moments of worship in the local church, we would stick to songs that lifted His name up, glorified Him, and declared His Word. We tried to steer clear of songs that gave the impression that I used to call “God – life sucks, but we praise You.” Any moments of crying out to God over the problems and struggles of life were encouraged to happen in personal times of worship. When we worshipped together, we gave Him praise, above all else.
God knows, life can be super hard. Normal life can be tough enough, and that’s before you add in any relationship issues, trauma, or a global pandemic! Recently, I caught myself wondering what the “next thing” will be that will try to throw us into disarray. No one said life was supposed to be a breeze. Jesus told us explicitly in John’s gospel that we WILL have trouble, but to take heart because He has overcome the world. Trouble and strife are guaranteed. I know, hardly the most motivational message to be sharing, huh? But trust me, it gets better.
Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
So, when life throws the most earth-shattering challenges and struggles your way, we lift our eyes up to the heavens. We turn our attention to God Himself. We “turn our eyes upon Jesus.” Praise does not necessarily get us out of our troubles, but it does shift our focus onto God, who gets us through them.
Psalm 23:1-4 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Did you see that? “…I walk through the darkest valley…” God doesn’t lead us into dark places, He leads us through them! Elsewhere in the Bible, it says He ‘leads us in paths of victory.’ Knowing that, I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is: What do I do now?
When we read the Bible, we are given wisdom and direction for life.
When we pray, we are having a one-on-one conversation with God.
When we praise Him, we remind Him of how much we adore Him for just being who He is, but we also remind ourselves of who He is. We remind ourselves what He has done for us already. He made us to walk with Him in perfect community. He rescued us from slavery in Egypt. He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin and be our redeeming grace. He will one day raise us up again to be with Him in a new Heaven and new Earth.
It’s not like He doesn’t know what He’s doing!
Yes, we need to acknowledge when we hurt and do what we can to reconcile it; but by praising Him, and remembering the ultimate redemption story of God and His children (if Jesus is your Lord and Savior, then that’s you!) – we allow Him to gently lift our heads to look at His face.
So, whatever you’re going through, all creatures here below… lift your eyes.