I know I’ve shared this before, but I love hymns. This Sunday morning, we sang the song “Higher Ground.” As I was singing, the second verse really made an impression on me.
Just as a side note, I hope that when you sing to the Lord, whether it be old hymns or modern worship songs, that you think about what you’re saying. Feel it. Believe it. Know what you’re saying and be aware of who you’re saying it to.
Anyway, back to higher ground. The second verse says this:
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
Those words just pierced my spirit, and I wanted to share some truths with you today.
You have a choice.
It’s so easy to get lost in fear, to get lost in a pity party and feel sorry for ourselves. Situations aren’t what we expected or wanted. Problems seem insurmountable. Life just doesn’t seem to be what we signed up for and we have no way to “fix” it. All of these things can leave us mired in fear and despair.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
As I was reading my Bible this morning, I stumbled upon a couple of great exhortations in Psalm 37:
- “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” -Psalm 37:7a
- “Do not fret–it only causes harm.” -Psalm 37:8b
There are lots of great things in that Psalm, you should just read the whole thing. But, these two things really spoke to me. You see, I’m not so good at being patient. And I’m pretty good at fretting sometimes.
I will have more to share about this later, but last week we found out that we are going to have to move…again. You might remember that we moved to a little house in the country last January, and were so excited about it. There ended up being a lot of unexpected problems, including toxic mold which made us sick and ruined a lot of our things. So, in November, we moved to our current rental.
We found out last week that our landlord is selling the house we’re living in, so we’ll be moving again within the next couple of months! Definitely not what I had planned, but the Lord is already moving in amazing ways, and speaking peace into my heart and I praise Him for that.
However, considering our uncertain housing situation these words were a timely reminder for me.
It’s also a reminder that it is possible for us to do these things. The Lord would not command us to do something if it were not possible.
We can choose to rest in Him. We can choose not to fret.
You’re Not Alone.
Though I know that I have a choice, I’ll be honest and say that sometimes it seems easier just to wallow.
It takes effort and energy to have faith and trust in the Lord when it seems like things are falling apart. It takes effort to choose to rest in Him when tough circumstances arise.
But we don’t have to do it alone. We have a helper and instructions.
In John 14, Jesus told his disciples that He would be leaving them, but He promised not to completely abandon them. He promised them 2 very important things:
- The Comforter. The Helper. The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us. He is called a “comforter” for good reason. The Holy Spirit speaks truth and life into our spirits.
- Peace. Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
What a wonderful promise that we don’t have to do it alone! We have a helper, and we have a promise of peace from Jesus. My pastor spoke about this a bit today. Jesus says “not as the world gives.” The world gives us peace when everything is sunshine and rainbows. When everything is going great, the world gives us peace.
God gives us peace that passes understanding (Phil 4:6-7) in the midst of trials and the worst of circumstances. What a difference that is!
How Do We Get That Peace?
Some of you may be looking at that and thinking, “I know the Lord promised peace, but I certainly don’t feel that peace in my heart right now.” I would not want to minimize what you are going through. I know that I have readers who are struggling through divorce, cancer diagnoses, devastating financial circumstances, and many other trials.
And so, I want to share with you a secret. It seems far too easy, but it’s a promise from His Word, and I have experienced it time and again.
One of my favorite verses right now, Isaiah 26:3: “Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts you.” (emphasis mine).
And there it is, friends. It’s not always easy, but it’s as simple as that–keep your mind on Him. That is the secret to peace in the midst of the most trying circumstances. Keep your mind on Him.
Colossians 3:2 calls us to set our minds on things above, and not on earthly things. (One way to start is by reading His word more often)
When Peter got out of that boat, he looked in the face of the Savior and he trusted Him. And he walked on water. Then he took his eyes off Jesus. He focused instead on the storm, and the crashing waves. And he began to sink.
He took his eyes off Jesus and he began to sink. He lost his peace. Let me tell you something–the worries of this world will sink you if you don’t lean on your Savior.
But the beautiful thing about that story is that the minute that he cried out for Jesus to save him, Jesus immediately reached out to him.
Look to Jesus, and not your circumstances. Keep your mind fixed firmly on Jesus. As another favorite hymn so beautifully states,
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in His wonderful face.
And the things on earth
will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.
Reach for Higher Ground
Are you reaching for higher ground? If you aren’t, you should be. Dear friends, don’t be satisfied to dwell where doubts and fears abound.
Call out to Jesus. Look to Him. Keep your mind fixed firmly upon God Almighty. And He will lead you to higher ground. His word promises over and over that He will give you peace, and the Lord is always faithful to keep His promises.