Look and See
Last Sunday we sang “Look and See” by the Village Church as a (virtual) congregation and the first line of the chorus kept echoing in my mind throughout the day. “Oh look and see our God.” Specifically, the two verbs “look” and “see.” According to Webster’s, to look is to turn one’s eyes toward something or in some direction in order to see. The verb “see” means to perceive with the eyes. When you look at something it involves shifting your gaze off of one thing and onto another, oftentimes resulting in a change of posture.
The events that have unfolded over the past several weeks have caused some of our postures to change. For some, your physical space has been forced to shift. Instead of working from a desk in a quiet office, you have been forced to carve out a workspace at home, while desperately praying to be productive. For others, the sheer unknown of the coming weeks and months has created much anxiety. In one way or another, all of us are experiencing a vast change in our day to day lives as we adjust to our new “normal.” Regardless of the degree of change, you have experienced, some of these changes have been more of an adjustment than others. The loss of a job, the extended pause on in-person social interaction, and the reality of a being a full-time employee and homeschool parent, are extremely tough adjustments to make. Yet the new norm of family dinners, unhurried time each day, and opportunities for afternoon walks have been welcomed. Regardless of how we’ve had to adapt to the changes, it can become all too easy to fix our gaze onto the myriad of circumstances, and if we’re completely honest with ourselves, this perspective shift happens effortlessly and almost subconsciously.
It is remarkable how easily we forget God’s goodness when we take our eyes off of Him. Even more, how quickly we jump to doubting God instead of recounting His faithfulness when trouble arises. Time and time again the Israelites were told to remember the Lord their God and to hold fast to His Word. (Deut 8, Joshua 1:1-9). How could they so quickly forget all that God had brought them through?! Think about the ten plagues, Red Sea, manna from heaven, and water from a rock, just to name a few. (see Exodus). We can be like the Israelites in the way that we can so quickly forget God’s work in our lives. We take our eyes off of God and put them onto something else. Often, the “something else” we put our eyes on is not inherently bad. You see, the problem arises when we begin to let our circumstances shape us rather than allow ourselves to be shaped by God and His Word. Just like the Israelites, we forget the Lord our God and all that He has brought us through. Just like the Israelites, we loosen the grip of His Word. We forget that all we need to do is shift our gaze back to Christ and be reminded.
This principle has been especially convicting to me recently. Our daughter has quickly rounded the corner from sweet baby innocence to toddler mischief and willful disobedience. When I am correcting her I will hold her hands, pull her in close, and say, “look at mama.” The corrections are quick, but oftentimes the most time-consuming aspect is waiting for her to relinquish her will to delay obedience by intentionally looking away and instead look at me to receive the correction. I want her to know my voice, hear my instruction, and ultimately choose the path of obedience, but she first has to look to me in order to do that. How true is this with the Lord? It takes a posture change in our heart to turn away from self and be prepared to hear from God (Psalm 119:36).
So we look and see God – then what? The chorus continues and tells us exactly what: Celebrate! We celebrate the power of the cross and the empty grave. How can we celebrate job losses and all of the unknowns of the future that we are walking through? We can rejoice because the cross of Jesus Christ has saved us and there is an empty tomb to prove it. Acts 4:12 tells us, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” We are saved in Christ alone and it is because of His life ransomed for us that we can celebrate that truth. (John 14:6, Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9, Romans 10:13).
The chorus finishes so beautifully, “and now we’re free, let the redeemed lift up your heads. Oh look and see our God!” Notice that it tells us to lift up our heads. We have received redemption from our good Heavenly Father. We do not hang our heads low in despair or defeat because He has purchased us as His own. (1 Cor 6:19b-20, 1 Peter 1:18-19). God can surely take our discouraged disposition and cause us to yet hope again. David proclaims in Psalm 3:3 that God is, “the lifter of my head.” Matthew Henry says, “If, in the worst of times, God’s people can lift up their heads with joy, knowing that all shall work for good to them, they will own it is God that is the lifter up of their head, that gives them both cause to rejoice and hearts to rejoice.” In the midst of our circumstances, we can look to God in hope and know He is the lifter of our head.
Sometimes all it takes is a posture change. As believers in Jesus Christ, we look beyond what our physical eyes can see and adjust our gaze to focus on our Savior. We intentionally move not just our heads but our hearts into a posture to see Him. Instead of drowning in the sea of uncertainties about the future, come up for air to grab hold of the One who holds the future in His hands. He is the safest landing place because He is indeed the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8).
Look up and see our God today … and celebrate!