This Is Your Life
‘I lift my eyes to the hills – from where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.’ (Psalm 121).
The Hills in this Psalm may have looked lovely and inviting to the Pilgrims walking up to Jerusalem each year. But the Psalmist encourages them not to look there as they fixed their eyes on their end point in Jerusalem. The Hills were where little temples and shrines to other Gods were located. So were they a good place to go for help, for guidance? Definitely not!
What are our equivalents today? May I suggest that our false gods and idol temples don’t require us to look up anywhere today. Because most of us are looking down. Maybe if it was written now, Psalm 121 would look more like this…
‘I drop my eyes to my phone – from where does my help come from?’
We don’t need to look very further than the end of our arm to find our longed-for guidance and answers to life problems. They can comfort us when we are lonely, entertain us when we are bored, answer all our questions about anything we’ve ever wondered, connect us in an instant with every person we have ever known in our lives. And yes, it’s also true that we can read the bible on them, listen to sermons, and encourage friends. What’s so bad about that?
There’s been lots of research done on this, but perhaps at the heart of it, is the fact that our phones draw us away from being fully present to where we are. Do you ever go to them for one thing and end up drifting from one screen to another, flicking, scrolling, searching … for what? They take us from being ‘now-here’ to ‘no-where at all, and severely challenge our ability to pay attention to the people and the God right in front of us.
Next time you are tempted to ‘drop your eyes’, remember where it is that your help comes from. Tempting as the hills of idol worship were to them and our modern-day idols might be to us, the satisfaction, guidance, and relationship He is offering are worth us fixing our eyes straight ahead for. The heavenly Jerusalem is the end point of our earthly pilgrimage, and incredibly our God both walks with us and waits for us there.
Forgive me for the times I look everywhere else but you for all I need to flourish as your child. Help me choose presence to your presence, to notice you at work in my life and the gift and opportunities you give me in the relationships right in front of me. I am blessed. Amen