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.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121 (NIV)
This morning, Bumble Bee decided we needed to be up early, so he woke us all with such a cry, you’ll think he was about to be kidnapped. That was the start of my day: sudden jerk from sleep, heart pounding from my chest and nose pouring like a waterfall just because hay fever won’t let me be great. Not a very good start, and not a very pretty feeling, I tell you. But in the midst of the terribleness of the way I feel, God prepared a message to brighten up my heart even when my face keeps trying hard not to let the light out.
Yesterday morning had a completely different start for me. I woke up wishing I could go back to sleep even when I was in bed till the time reserved for only lazy people. I got up feeling so much guilt: guilt for abandoning Alethea’s Mind for such a long time; guilt for abandoning my quiet time for twice as long; guilt for abandoning my purpose-driven assignments; guilt for feeling that some part of the world around me didn’t mind me not being in it; guilt that I take some things too close to heart when I really should ignore them; guilt for not choosing to be the ‘bigger person’ in that relationship; guilt for feeling guilty that I felt guilty . . . and the list could go on. The guilt was pouring from my bed, I could swim but would totally drown in it if I dared got out. The only thing I could do was bow my head in repentance, allowing the light of God’s love, in the midst of all my unfaithfulness, wash over me and all my guilt. I could hear the gurgling sound as it went down the drain and soon I felt His peace, the one that I really couldn’t explain, but one I deeply appreciated. In the back of my mind, I’ll find myself here again sometime soon, but I pushed that thought away as fast as it surfaced . . . I didn’t need any sour cream on my apple pie.
Every year comes with new resolutions, every task comes with its targets. We talk about SMART goals and rave about production timelines. Yet we watch as deadlines pass and procrastination trips us like untied shoelaces. We look forward to every task anticipating disaster through our risk assessments and don our safety clothes only to stand before the mountain and realise that we really can’t climb it . . . so we turn back.
I think about all the ideas I have had and all the things I wish I could achieve. Most of them ended in the thought process, others while I shared them with myself. Some made it to the ears of those I felt
could/would push me, or support me, or assist me; I wake up to the reality that no one will ever run with zeal carrying a torch they were never meant to bear. My unfinished books, the ‘un-started’ ones. The prayer points that have taken up space in my journal but have never made it to heaven’s door. The guilty pleasures for my guilt trips . . .
I have always wondered why people quote the first verse of Psalm 121 the way they do. Does help really come from these mountains? I thought the mountains were the obstacles we needed help to surmount. Then I read one time that those who originally sang this song of ascent were talking about the mountains that led to their place of worship. But then I still didn’t get it . . . until this morning.
Psalm 121, today I see you in a different light and my heart has found peace: So I will lift up my eyes to these mountains before me. No, I won’t turn back. It’s in these mountains I receive help from the One who made the heavens and the earth and every mountain in between. As I make my daring accent up this mountain, I see the risks and I brave it all the same; the One who won’t let my foot slip from the crag didn’t stop to take a nap, He’s holding my hand up this daunting climb. Should I slip, I’m safely tethered to Him and His rope will never break free. From the rays of the scorching sun, He is my lee; from every harm that might threaten to abort this mission, He defends me still. I won’t die climbing this mountain, I won’t die before I reach the top; and when it’s time to descend from the other side on the rest of my journey towards my destination, He watches over me, He cares for me, He helps me.
He loves me.
Your mountains . . .
Is there a mountain before you today?
Are there mountains before you every day?
You don’t have to turn back . . . repeat after me:
“I will lift up my eyes to these mountains before me. No, I won’t turn back. It’s in these mountains I receive help from the One who made the heavens and the earth and every mountain in between . . . (continue as above. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat)