Reading: Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills -- from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Sometimes a passage of scripture is so familiar that it's hard to hear afresh and to reflect honestly on the passage in our lives. We hear passages like "I lift up my eyes to the hills" or "The LORD is my shepherd," and our souls smile with the comfort of familiar words but our ears fail to listen for new wisdom from the verses.
If I'm being honest, I don't lift my eyes to the hills when I'm in need of help. I look to my smartphone. I look to my friends. I look to my next paycheck. When the help has been relieved, then I backtrack to thank God. It's lovely for Psalm 121 to affirm, "The sun shall not strike you by day or the moon by night," but I've experienced some mean sunburns that provide evidence to the contrary!
When we listen with an honest spirit to familiar verses, we can find surprising insights into ourselves and into God's impact on our lives.
"He will not let your foot be moved"...except that He has.
God has challenged me, shifted me, called me to new places;
God has not let me stand still for a minute!
The sun has burned me, the moon has haunted me with nightmares,
snow and rain and storm have been impartial toward me.
Evil has provoked me, struggle has found me repeatedly,
and goodness has danced out of reach on a whim.
Still I say: through all of life, God has not abandoned me.
From the hills and through the city, God has kept me.
Rachel Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ minister and a former CML summer staffperson.
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