by Lizanne Espina
As I looked out the window early in the morning, I found myself observing the trees. I noticed the differences in the tree branches. Most of the trees had lost all their leaves but there branches were stretched out as if they hoped to touch the sky. Despite the fact that it is winter, the form of the tree branches remain the same. I can imagine them in a steadfast position of worship to a mighty and awesome God. I imagine that the trees symbolize one who desires to stand on her Father’s promises in the middle of a harsh winter. Circumstances can’t distract her because she lives to be an audience to God. The trees stand barren for only a season. I know that this is the place of refuge for me – a place of worship in spite of all the distractions.
But, sometimes, the distractions become all that I can see. I am surrounded sometimes with difficulties and disappointments so great that I lose focus of the way. I am deceived to remain captive as if this season of difficulties will last forever. In this place, my arms become too heavy to lift because my sight is on how large my problems are and how small I am. I can easily choose to take a seat as a captive audience to the problems, mistakes and difficulties.
But, how do I find direction in a time of depression? How can I lift my arms to worship more than the trees do in this winter season? One place to begin is the point of exchange. I can exchange deception for truth. I have a secure place in the shadow of the wings of the Almighty. David understood this when he wrote Psalm 63 while he was in the desert of Judah. There, he recalled his place in the audience of God’s presence.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and glory
because your love is better than life
my lips will glorify you.
Even though David dwelt in the desert, his mind chose to dwell on the presence of the Lord. He focused and meditated on who God meant to him. He recalled the power of a mighty God. Although the desert was vast, he perceived the power of an Almighty God as greater. This is the point of exchange – the focus of our mind- our concentration. In this place, hope can arise even in the midst of a harsh winter. We can choose to to focus our sights on all the promises He has for us in His Word.
I will praise you as long as I live
and in your name I will lift up my hands
I will be satisfied as with the richest of foods
with singing lips my mouth will praise you
On my bed I remember you
I think of you through the watches of the night
Because you are my help
If we fix our eyes on God’s word, He becomes our help – our direction. I can lift my arms as I meditate on who God is in my life and who I am in Him. In this place of exchange, I change my seat in an audience of circumstances for a seat in which I will be satisfied in the presence of my Helper. There is a song that says ‘There are trees in the field that lift their arms to you, There are birds in the fields they sing there song to you – but I want to sing I want to lift my arms to you.’
I have many circumstances that will carry over to the new year. But, I have chosen that I will not be a captive audience to these circumstances . Instead, I will be like David in that I will remember the presence and promises of God during the night because joy always comes in the morning. If I want to be at a stand still, I will allow my problems to make me captive. But, if I want strategy and direction which will lead me out of a harsh winter, I will praise Him as long as I live. I will be in the audience with my hands held higher than the trees. I will be as David who writes in Psalm 63:7-8 –
Because you are my help, I will sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.
As always, remember to Just Breathe!
1. Have you gone through a situation which felt overwhelming until you began to worship and seek God in that time? Please describe that time so others can be encouraged.
2. When I read Psalm 63:7-8, I can imagine myself singing in the shadow of my Father’s wings. Is there a verse that upon reading it just touches your heart with a hope to face your circumstances?
3. God speaks through nature constantly. Can you give your own personal revelation of God’s character through nature?