Almost every year, I volunteer at the most exciting Christian summer camp for teenagers called “North East Teen Camp,” located in Maine. I usually serve as a counsellor, a role that includes leading spiritual discussions, engaging teens in camp activities, doing one on one mentoring, and much more.
Last summer I was given a couple extra roles on top of what I usually do. I was asked to preach a lesson for the teen boys on one day and lead a morning devotional for a group of counsellors on another day. Although I was excited for these new tasks, my body and my mind also screamed for rest. I was exhausted, but willing.
So where did I go for help? I looked up.
Looked up? Yes, I literally looked up to the sky and marvelled at stars. They radiated with beauty, and once every few minutes, a shooting star would fly by. Gazing at these heavenly hosts reminded me of the beauty and power of God, my ever present source of help and strength.
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.”
Although the physical act of looking up reminded me of God, what gave me strength was going to Him in prayer and surrendering everything to Him. If God created the heavens and the earth, there is no trial too big for Him to see me through.
Whether you are feeling overwhelmed, facing trials, or feeling exhausted, you always have the opportunity to look up. And when I say “look up,” I don’t just mean lifting up your eyes and staring at the sky. It’s more than just that. It’s looking to God with the eyes of your heart, with eyes of faith, looking to Him as the source of your inner strength.
When Jesus performed the miracle of multiplying the fish and the bread, He first looked up and thanked God. Before He walked on water, He spend the night in prayer. In the garden of Gethsemane as He wrestled in agony, He poured Himself out in prayer to His father. You can see this pattern all throughout His life, whether in victory or in trials, Jesus always looked up.
What do you turn to when you are stressed, overwhelmed, confused?
Is it to music to block out everything and everyone? Is it to alcohol or drugs to numb the pain or escape reality?
Do you turn to people as your first line of help? Although God places people in our lives to help us, our primary source of help cannot continually come from people, lest we become dependent on them.
So am I saying we shouldn’t reach out to one another in our times of weakness? Of course not! To the contrary, I strongly believe in providing help, support, and encouragement to one another. In fact, we are built to live in community; God Himself is a community, composed of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Nonetheless, our primary purpose is to live in relationship with God, built to be sustained by Him, the one who designed us and knows us intricately. In other words, no person can ever take the place of Jesus in your life. In fact, if you expect anyone to take His place in your life, you will certainly resent that person.
So Here is my Challenge:
First, look up to God. Then look side to side to your fellow friends and family whenever you need help. Surrender it all to God and let Him fight your battles for you. All you need to do is get behind Him. And as you do that, God will provide people in our lives to fight along with us.
Let’s keep looking up.