Song of Ascent

Have you ever had one of those days when little inconveniences stack up and become one big stressful situation?  Recently, I had one of those days, and I was increasingly feeling the pressure of balancing everything from my music and worship leading to the mounting workload for my directorship of Wisconsin YLF.  It was a hot and humid day as well, and I don’t think I was the only one on the brink of giving in to a bad mood.

I am usually pretty motivated and can push through any negative attitude and keep pressing forward in accomplishing necessary tasks, but that day, I knew I needed to shift gears.  So I reached for my Bible.  This summer, I am working through the psalms in order to build a Bible Study curriculum for my women’s Bible Study group for the 2012-2013 schedule. 

I was drawn to Psalm 121 and its brief but perfectly timed message.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm —
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

I was reminded of a song I have sung for years now by Bebo Norman called “I will Lift my Eyes.”  When I sing the song at concerts, I introduce it as a theme song of sorts for the season in which I was quite ill due to allergies.  I was afraid and uncertain as to how my health issues would interfere with my ability to sing and do what I thought God had called me to do.  The first verse of this psalm brought to mind the ever-present provision that God has provided for my life thus far, and I found my thoughts focused on asking Him for help to bring me through this time of stress.  I figured if I could endure sickness and find God’s amazing love and grace in the process, I could give Him all of the little things that stole my peace that afternoon.  In large part, my stresses were minor, and I was reminded of how trivial my worries and cares had actually become. 

When I went to bed that night, I prayed that God would take each of my stressors and bring me a measure of His peace.  As I felt myself relaxing, I heard the welcome sound of rain as it poured down in a cleansing shower outside.  It was then that I recalled verse six and how the Lord had not allowed harm to come to me that day.  Quite literally, He had protected me from the harmful rays of the sun and the 100+ degree heat index.  The rain brought the promise of cooler air, and I felt refreshed as I fell asleep. 

I was comforted with verses three and four, knowing He neither slumbers nor sleeps.  I knew He would guide me through the next day, and no matter where I would go, He would not let my foot slip from the path at any turn.  The reference to “ascent” in this psalm brought the reminder that this psalm may have possibly been used as the Israelites participated in a pilgrimage toJerusalem.  The path was often steep and uneven, and in the end, God brought His people to the end of the journey in safety. 

I pray that as I move forward in the weeks and months to come that I will remember these promises and cling to them as I am sure to face more stress and worry along the way.  I will seek to turn everything over to Him, for He is my Helper, Protector, and Guide.   


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