Even When It Hurts: March 29, 2021

Even When It Hurts -- Lent 2021 Devotional Book

Read: Psalm 123

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
-Psalm 123:1

My Dad taught me (from an early age) to “step on your eye.” I presume that was something he was taught, either as a child or as an enlisted man in basic training. I never asked him where he got the saying, and he never told me. Either way, his point was simple: “Watch where you’re going.”

The psalmist has enemies. When Israel was looking to enter the promised land, they sent in spies who returned with news: The people there are humongous giants. We are like grasshoppers in comparison. Rather than turning their eyes upon the One who led them out of slavery into Egypt, the people listened to the spies and decided they couldn’t tackle the task ahead. It was too big. The task was too great. They didn’t look up, nor did they look down. Instead, they looked back and remembered the meals they enjoyed in Egypt, but not the lashes they endured. They remembered the onions they ate, but not the tears they shed.

I think God calls us to look up, but we should also keep an eye out for where we go, for there are many roots to trip us up, holes into which to fall, and curves that could send us careening out of bounds. Ultimately, it is God to whom we look up, and who provides light for the paths we trod or tread. Either way, I plan to step on my eye as God leads me away from where it hurts.

God, grant me grace to lift up my face and dare to see in You all your wonderful glory. Remove from me the stains of my sins; bleach out those stains with the powerful light of your presence, and help me know when I look upon you, I do not see One hastening to scold, but One who desires my hand to hold. Amen.
-The Rev. Keith Axberg