Look Up!

I watched the mother and father at the nearby restaurant table actively attending to their four young children. Nostalgia hit me as I remembered our family doing the same so many years ago. The 8-year-old was busily eating his hamburger. The two-year-old twins were snuggled on the lap of their mother, who was encouraging them to eat, and the four-year-old was screaming, while his daddy tried to comfort and engage with him.

Finally, the four-year-old fixed his gaze on his daddy, reached out his arms, and said, “Up!” The father scooped his little one into his strong arms, and the boy looked into his daddy’s face. I watched as the little one visibly released all the tension in his body and stopped crying. He had redirected his focus onto the one who loved him and would take care of him.

Colossians 3:1-2 says, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (NASB). It’s a picture of looking to Jesus, to who He is and where He is, and the fact that He has the authority to take care of everything that concerns us (Ephesians 1:19-22).

In Joshua 1:9, it says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (NIV). That word courageous means, to be alert, physically (on foot) or mentally (in courage). To be alert . . . to be watching, to be looking in the right direction, to be looking up to our Lord in whatever we are facing.

1 Peter 5:7 encourages us to cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us (NASB). That word anxiety actually means, through the idea of distraction, solicitude [a calling away]. Do you see it? The enemy of our souls wants to pull our attention away from the Lord and put it on the cares of the world instead—the things that will rob us of our peace and joy, the things that will take us away from intimate fellowship with Jesus—if we choose to focus on them instead of Him. When the unsettling times come, we have to choose to do as that little boy did—draw near to our Father and look at Him. We must look up, and here’s how:

Look at who God is

The scriptures are full of truths about our Lord, and we can go to them and speak them out over our circumstances. One of my favorites is Lamentations 3:21-26, NASB:

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I have hope in Him.”  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.  It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord.

Think about what you are facing and who you need the Lord to be in that situation. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your remembrance scriptures that speak to that attribute of God (John 14:26), or look up key words in a concordance. For example, if you need comforted, you can thank the Lord for being the God of all comfort, ask Him to comfort you, and then tell Him that once He comforts you, that you want to be used by Him to comfort others in similar situations (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NASB).

Look at what God says

The Lord makes more than 8,000 promises to us in the Bible. We need to look at them when we are hurting and unsettled. They are the greater reality. God backs up everything He tells us with everything He is (Psalm 138:2, NASB). For example, one such promise is, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NASB).

No matter how we feel, it doesn’t change the fact of God’s Word. In Psalm 119:160, it says, “All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal” (NASB). We can count on what God says because He is God.

Look at what God does

Remember your history with God and His faithfulness in the past. He will continue to be the same God as you walk with Him now and in the future. When three different nations came to make war against him, King “Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord” (2 Chronicles 20:3, NASB). The king prayed a beautiful prayer, where he spoke about the Lord, who He was and His history of faithfulness toward the nation of Judah. Then, he spoke about his dilemma, and he ended his prayer with, “’O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You’” (2 Chronicles 20:12, NASB, italics mine). The Lord routed their enemies; they didn’t even have to fight! Then, they had even more history to remember about God’s faithfulness.

The scriptures tell us, He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20, NASB). We are told that for those who grieve, the Lord will “bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:3, NIV). That’s what your God does!

So, the next time you find yourself unsettled dear one, look up! Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2, NASB). As the old hymn says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace” (Lemmel, 1922).

Be like a little child. Crawl into your Father’s lap, and look up.

Col. 3:1-2; Eph. 1:19-22; Jos. 1:9; 1 Pe. 5:7; Lam. 3:21-26; John 14:26; 2 Cor. 1:3-4; Ps. 138:2; Phil. 4:19; Ps. 119:160; 2 Chron. 20:3, 12; Eph. 3:20; Isa. 61:3; Heb. 12:2

Question: How are you being challenged to look up? What do you need to know or remember about God? Comment below, and I will share some scriptures with you.

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