“I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high”
Leviticus 26:13 NIV
I love going early to the garden. I love going midday to the garden and I love going to the garden in the evening. For me the garden is such a place of beauty. Today is no exception. The azaleas are especially pretty this time of year. Some of the azaleas bloom early in April and still others flaunt their beautiful bonnets on into May. They add striking bursts of color to the shaded garden. There is such a variety of color among the azaleas. Blooms of soft pastel pink graduate to a vibrant hot pink punctuating the garden landscape. Creamy peach blossoms and deep melon blooms welcome all who will pause to enjoy their beauty. Pure white, lavender, and deep purple accentuate this color palette with royal beauty. But my all-time favorite is a deep pink azalea that always makes me say, “Beautiful, just beautiful!” The garden is not only a place of beauty, it is also a place of amazing hope!
Even when we know the Lord, life has a way of pulling us down. It seems I often forget that I am a jar of clay, fragile and easily shattered. Joy can rule deep within my heart because of the constant love of Jesus. Yet, emotions are all up and down the chart when it comes to external happiness.
When those we care about suffer, we feel sad and helpless. When the weather is dull and drab for days we can become unmotivated and depressed. Overload at work sometimes makes us feel that we have been taken advantage of and dumped on. Prolonged physical problems leave us feeling weak and weary. Other times our plans must be changed and we feel disappointed.
Sometimes our emotions push us to an entirely different level. The words of another have wounded us. Negative comments and judgmental opinions of others directed toward us can crush our spirit and break our heart. At time we feel unappreciated and devalued. We long to hear words from another that let us know they love us, respect us, value us, cherish us, and support us. Unfortunately, in many cases those words never come.
Ever so often we walk into a situation that leaves us totally broken. It is a “yoke” of loss that is next to unbearable. But this too is a time when God wants to draw us near and lift our heads. We can depend on God to come through for us and heal our broken heart. “I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high” Leviticus 26:13 NIV
There is so much hope to be experienced when we go to the garden of our heart and sit at the feet of Jesus. Second Corinthians 7:6 says, “But God, who comforts the downcast…” God is the lifter of my head. No matter what is going on in your life there is still hope. The very words “but God” is the precursor to hope. It is God who is able to bring comfort to my wounded emotions, my downcast spirit, and my broken heart. The Psalmist asks,” Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. “Psalm 42:5 NIV
There is absolutely no better remedy for raw emotions, hurt feelings, a downcast spirit, disturbing events in life, or a broken heart than to sit for a spell in the garden with the Lord. Enter the garden, look over the fence and lift up your eyes to the hills. Feasting on the mountains will work just as well and without a doubt you will find help, strength, comfort, healing, and peace. Allow the Lord to lavish his love upon you. He will take your face in his hands and lift your head. He will dry your tears and fill you with his joy. He will minister to you and give you both help and hope. “I Lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 NIV
You will eventually leave the garden and go back to the same circumstance that sent you here in the first place, but now you will feel different because you are filled with hope. You can face today, tomorrow, and the days ahead because the Maker of heaven and earth will sustain you.
Circumstances seldom change but our outlook regarding those circumstances does change. Time spent in honest prayer before the Lord will always lift you higher. Jesus will whisper words into your thoughts and tell you where you need to change and what you must overlook. He will teach you about compassion and mercy and you will be able to graciously move on. I love so much that Jesus is the lifter of my head! What a verbal picture of what it is that my Lord is able to do for me.
- Are you currently walking around despondently looking at you toes?
- Are you going through your day with your chin up but your spirit crushed?
- Are you hiding behind a fake smile as you go about daily responsibilities, yet when you are alone you cry?
- Are you one of those tough guys who never cries but yet you contemplate ways to escape the heaviness that sits on your spirit?
- Are you in need of hope?
- When was the last time you went alone to the garden so that Jesus Christ could lift your head?
- Is there a better solution? I think not.
How is it possible that my hope for eternal life is sure because I am your child and yet, not always, but sometimes I feel hopeless about the events surrounding my life? Forgive me when I allow people to bring me down. Forgive me when I forget to ask you to lift my head. I confess that most days are good, yet sometimes when I least expect it, Satan catches me off guard and tries to drag me into dark moments. But you Lord are the light of my life and my salvation. Who shall I fear? Who shall steal my joy? Your Word is a lamp into my feet and a light unto my path. You allow sadness but lace it with comfort. You allow others to speak hurtful words, but you redirect me to your Word. You take my overload and help me to set priorities and simplify my life. You show me the difference between what the world says is important and what you say is eternal. I thank you Lord for always standing near. How amazing that you are indeed only a prayer away. This day I choose you over discouragement, depression, despair, disgrace, and discontentment. With all my heart, I thank you Jesus that you are the lifter of my head.
It is in your name I pray. Amen