One of my recent challenges has been learning to navigate the complicated maze of hallways in a large hospital complex. After my second almost-collision with a fellow employee, I began to pause and listen for footsteps as I approached intersections. While this hesitation method was definitely more successful, it was not foolproof.
Recently, one of those near-miss encounters concluded with a subtle upward glance made by the other party. At first, I thought it was a condescending “ugh, another newbie” eye roll. But, I soon discovered that this gesture actually was a tactful hint. Turning my eyes toward the direction of their inaudible suggestion, I spotted an object under which I had obliviously passed countless times. Looking deep into the reflection of this mirrored dome protruding from the ceiling, I not only could see myself but also down each hallway that fed into this intersection. I walked back to my desk muttering a self-directed and sarcastically elongated "duuuuuhhhhh," realizing that these mirrors were at most every intersection on my surgical floor.
Over the next few days, every time I approached a hallway intersection, I uttered a simple exhortation to remind myself, “Look up!” Each upward glance into the mirrored half-sphere enabled me to discern both how and when I should move forward.
One evening as I walked down a long corridor at the end of my shift, my mind drifted to a number of relational challenges in my faith journey. Deep in thought, I mulled over ramifications of potential ways of responding to certain people's behavior that might free us to walk in healthier patterns. As I approached an intersecting hallway, I snapped to the present, instinctively reminding myself, “Look up!” Passing through the intersection without incident, the spiritual significance of that moment hit me. “That is what I need to do. Look up and seek the counsel of the Lord.”
As I neared the time clock, a phrase that King Jehoshaphat used in the Old Testament came to mind. Facing the crises of three armies simultaneously poised to attack, he wisely prayed, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” [2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV]. Had he prayed in song, perhaps these lyrics would have melodically poured forth. "God I look to You. I won't be overwhelmed. Give me vision to see things like You do. God I look to You. You're where my help comes from. Give me wisdom. You know just what to do" [God I Look to You | Ian McIntosh and Jenn Johnson].
God graciously responded with three gifts. One was the comfort and reassurance of His presence. He then lavishly offered insight as to the strategy of the enemy. And lastly, grace upon grace, God also granted clear instruction as to a path forward in the situation. “'Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you’” [verses 16-17].
Perhaps you’ve been obliviously barreling through relational intersections where near-misses have abounded. May I offer you the simple invitation the Holy Spirit extended to me? “Child, look up, and seek the counsel of the Lord." Cease striving and humbly echo the words of Jehoshaphat, "We don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you." Exhale and take a few moments to pray. Perhaps this song, "God I Look to You," may equip you with vocabulary to express what has been buried within.
Ask with confidence knowing God's promise, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” [33:3 NIV]. Rest in the intentionality of His faithful love, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” [Psalm 32:8 NIV]. Receive this blessed assurance, “Your ears will hear sweet words behind you: 'Go this way. There is your path; this is how you should go' whenever you must decide whether to turn to the right or the left.'" [Isaiah 30:21 VOICE]. God will, indeed, show both 'how' and 'when' to move forward.
Today, Beloved, look up and know, “The Eternal keeps you safe, so close to Him that His shadow is a cooling shade to you. Neither the bright light of sun nor dim light of moon will harm you. The Eternal will keep you safe from all of life's evils, from your first breath to the last breath you breathe, from this day and forever" [Psalm 121:8 VOICE]. Amen.
[Looking for more devotionals like this? Check-out 31 Days of Encouragement, available for purchase on-line. Sharing a devotional at the beginning of a meeting is a great way to help people center their hearts and minds on eternal things!]