This year, on May 27th, my son, Judah, was born. Today, he is a little over 2 months old. My wife and I are totally new to this parenting thing, and to be candid with you, there have been moments along the way that have been super hard. Between the loud crying, the lack of sleep, and the large hospital bills, there is no doubt that this season has been the toughest season in our marriage.
Why do I say this? Because some of you who are reading this right now are in similar seasons. In fact, for some of you, the lack of sleep and baby crying problems that my wife and I have had pale in comparison to the stuff you’re going through right now. I had a former student this week whose brother was killed in a car accident. Some who are reading this are battling cancer. One week there seems to be good news, and the next week seems to be bad news. Some reading this may have even contemplated suicide this week.
My point is this: What do we do in moments like these? Better yet, what should we do in moments like these? For some, we get so down into a deep, dark place of despair. For others, we just go numb (emotionally, spiritually). We use things like Netflix to help us forget our problems or to put off dealing with them. Some use alcohol, porn, relationships, or spending money to try to ease the pain.
Take a moment and read Psalm 123. Seriously, your soul will appreciate it.
Here’s this big takeaway from Psalm 123. Where you look matters.
Psalm 123:1 says, “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!” Don’t miss the directional word that’s used here. Our tendency and natural default move is to look everywhere else but up. In one of his sermons, Charles Spurgeon said, “Instead of looking downward in despair, or looking to the right hand or to the left to human confidence, or looking within in pride, [LOOK UP!]”1
Where you look matters. Too many look down in despair, and, when you do, you drift to dark places and suicidal thoughts. Too many look to the TV remote in your right hand or the bottle in your left hand. Too many listen to the world’s wisdom that preaches, “You can! And, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t! That’s offensive and wrong!” But, where does Scripture tell us to look? (UP!!)
“To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!”
This Psalm was written about Israel. Think about all the Israelites had gone through and how they reacted to their circumstances. They were prone to look everywhere but up. So often, they looked DOWN (i.e. grumbling in the desert after being set free from Egypt). So often, they looked to the LEFT or the RIGHT (i.e. the golden calf). So often, they looked INWARD (i.e. when they decided they wanted to have a human king like the nations around them had).
Think about it—what were the results when they looked in all those places? Not good.
The point is, where you look matters. When things in your life aren’t going like you want them to go, where do you look?
Here are three practical ways to look up this week:
- Read the Word. This is the primary way that God speaks to us, and because of that, it’s usually the first place Satan attacks us. In battle, you try and take out the enemy’s biggest weapons first. This is our biggest weapon. Therefore, we should be that much more adamant about not letting Satan take this out of our life. Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, get time in the Word.
- Disconnect your devices. What would happen if we flip-flopped the amount of time we spend on social media and the amount of time we spend with God? Yikes! That’s kind of crazy to think about. Back away from your cell phone. Go on, do it!
- Go on a walk and talk to God! Go outside, take a walk, and use that time to talk to God. This might sound cheesy, but you should try it. One of the men I respect the most who has poured into my life over the years taught me this back in college. How did he teach me? I caught him doing it almost every night on campus. Today, God is using this guy to plant churches that reach college students in one of the hardest places in North America.
Where you look matters. Psalm 123 challenges us to look up!
1. Spurgeon Sermon 2393
Austin Wadlow and his wife, Lesley, and son, Judah, live in Iowa where he serves as the Teaching Pastor and Salt Company Director at Keystone Church in Ankeny, IA. They will be planting a Salt Network church in East Lansing, MI at Michigan State University in Fall 2019. You can connect with Austin via Twitter: @austinwadlow