But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I’m bad at references,and my Bible doesn’t have every single reference for every single word in its concordance. But I had this verse on my mind the other day, and fortunately the word “lifts” in the concordance refers me to Psalm 3:3, which is exactly what I was looking for.
I’ve not had the greatest few weeks—two Fridays ago, I got my nose hit by a softball, then a few weeks later the display on my phone broke, and then the day I was frantically looking for this verse, I had been rear-ended by a semi on the interstate. Let me caveat this by saying a few things first: these are ALL—each and every one—simply inconveniences. I don’t mean that in some pious, I-have-a-great-perspective-on-everything way. I mean that my nose wasn’t broken and it just hurts from time to time; my phone was broken as a result of my own frustration and I got my old phone back and working free of cost; and the only damage was to my trunk, and it’s not broken, just bent. I was fine, didn’t have whiplash or anything of the sort.
But these things are definitely setbacks and frustrations. On my way home from lexington, I was listening to music and I found that I just had to stop. I needed to talk to God about all this. I explained how frustrated I was—this was going to cost me money to fix, and I had to worry about how my parents and friends would respond, especially since I couldn’t just call them because I don’t have a phone—and did my best to ask for help not to focus and stress about all of these little things. God’s response was simply this:
“I am your glory and the lifter of your head.”
I began to think about why God want Himself known as the lifter of my head. Obviously our first instinct is to believe that that means that God is an encourager, and that’s true. You tend to tell people who are feeling down on their luck or hard done by to keep their head up. But let me just say—I can keep moving forward even if my head’s down. I can even lift it a little bit to see what’s in my way.
I don’t think that God wanted to simply describe Himself as an encourager, because I don’t think that’s enough.
God isn’t a motivational speaker or a fitness trainer whose message is, “you can do it!” Now before you think I’m a heretic, let me explain what I mean—
God wants us to get our eyes off of us and onto Him. I firmly believe that God wants to lift our heads to see Him so that we can stop looking at ourselves all of the time. I believe that He is our encouragement, not just our obscure encourager. I believe that the hope of this life is that this life isn’t everything, in fact it is naught but a vapor. It’s far too easy to keep my head down, not so much in discouragement, but in self-pity and frustration that things aren’t going my way—to keep my head down so that I can create a solution in things around me that I can see, instead of looking up to see God.
I see it like this: when a son falls off of his bike and scrapes his knee while his dad is walking beside him, he will cry. He will scream and be in pain, but a good dad will have his son look at him and not his wound, telling him, “son, I’ll carry you, I’ll take you home, and we’ll get this patched up. Don’t worry.”
Which one of you by worrying can add a cubit to his stature?