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  • Jane Wheeler

Lifter of Our Heads

I heard 2 other sermons this past week alluding to this same subject: whenever that happens I know that God is trying to get our attention about something.

The subject was keeping our heads down.

Now under some circumstances keeping your head down can be helpful, even lifesaving, but in this case, keeping your head down means you are downward focused, usually focused on ourselves and our own problems.

My chiropractor told me that we are in an unprecedented time of treating more and more people for neck and back injuries. He said the amount of surgeries on young people has raised considerably, the reason, he told me, was: computers and cell phones.

He said even glasses not positioned correctly on your face requiring you have to move or tilt your head to see clearly can cause huge issues with your neck, now that we can order glasses on line this could have potential problems.

At first I wondered at the validity of his words but then I thought about it – probably while I was texting on my phone. When we are on our phones are heads are bent down. I started looking around, sure enough people’s heads all around me were down when they are texting, or looking at items on their phones. Take a look around you at people on their phones – their necks are bent forward and very few of the people you look at are actively engaged in conversation with each other. The looking down isolates us, it helps us to focus strictly on “me”, in my own little world.

I guess the analogy is fairly straight forward on this one: if you are on your phone, you are oblivious to the world around you and your focus is pointed down. Oh because you are “on your phone”, you might think you are “connected” but the people and things sitting around you are being ignored.

As I drove through Jasper this weekend I marveled at the Rocky Mountains once again – they are so beautiful. I wondered what it is about mountains that compels and fascinates us so much; people come from all over the world to view them. Is it the jagged rocks and crags; the snow capped tops, the mosaic of foliage covering the mountainside? Honestly it is probably all of it. But whatever it is, it raises our heads and we stare in awe at the majestic wonder that is our mountains.

I do not think it coincidence that mountains tend to make us raise our heads and eyes. God wants us to lift our eyes up, towards Him, it makes sense that our eyes long to look up, albeit mountains, clouds, stars, the sky and to catch a glimpse of God, the one who created it all.

Psalm 3:3

“But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.”

As you trod along in life with your eyes cast down, you might find a little change on the sidewalk but in the long run, but you will not be living in the sense of awe and wonder that raising your focus upwards can give you.

“Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I Am God, and there is none else.” Psalm 45:22

God wants our focus “up!”….. “Look unto me…”

In the Bible when the Israelite's left Egypt they were on their way to Israel – the Promised Land, however they ended up in the desert for 40 years. The trip should have only taken 11 days, but their attitude and behavior got them 40 years.

At first they rejoiced that they were free but then the desert began to feel like a prison as well. They looked around them (not up) grumbled and complained, there is no food or water; they looked around them but not up, they complained to God, why did you bring us here to die? They were mad at God and started to let Him have it!

God sent snakes into the camp and people got bit and some of them died, well that changed their tune rather quickly. They humbled themselves and apologized to God and asked Him to come heal them. He did – but the way He did it is a little odd.

He told them to make a snake from bronze and put it up on a pole, anyone who got bit could go, look up at it, and live. How bizarre! But they did it and it worked.

We are no different than the Israelite's. I mean, honestly, if it had been us instead of them, we would have taken the same detoured 40 year path, whining and complaining. We, as human beings, tend to forget our blessings almost as fast as they come. We tend to focus on the negatives, not the positives. We keep our heads down, nose to the grind stone, and focus on the things that are not really going to help us in the long run.

Why do we need God when we can look down at our phone and either Google it, ask Siri or check on Wikipedia and get the answers by ourselves?

Why is it so important to raise our eyes? Why does God want us to raise our heads?

Jesus said, in John 3:14: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up.”

Today we must do exactly what the Israelites had to do centuries ago. Look up at Jesus, nailed to the cross and acknowledge He can save us and that He has the answers we need. In humbling ourselves, we must admit that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. No amount of human effort can ever save us or have all the answers.

My thought is this: we can continue to have our heads bowed low and study our phones, or whatever it is that keeps our focus down, including our grumbling about our problems OR we can raise our heads, lift our eyes and keep our focus upwards towards to the Creator who created everything and has answers to our every problem.

One way frees us and one way weighs us down (and hurts your neck) – you get to decide which is best for you.

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