Look Up

Look Up!
By: J. B. Hixson, Ph.D.

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up. (Psalm 5:3)

It was a typically cool evening in the mountains, and I decided to walk out onto our deck and enjoy the night air. At the time, we lived in a rural cabin surrounded by tall pines, aspen groves, and wildlife. As I leaned over the railing on our second story deck, I did what I always do in those peaceful moments alone on my deck: I surveyed the landscape.

The first thing I noticed was that another dead aspen had fallen. “Time for some more chainsaw work,” I thought to myself. Next I noticed a large doe nonchalantly working her way across the back of our seven-acre property, unaware of (or unconcerned by) my presence. Standing there lost in my thoughts, I suddenly heard the sound of an owl high above me in a lodgepole pine. I looked up. I could not see the owl in the darkness, but I knew he was there. Yet, what I did see was intriguing.

I noticed, for example, that one of the Douglas firs about twenty yards from me was leaning heavily toward my house. I had never noticed this before. From ground level, it looked fine. “I hope it doesn’t fall over in the next big windstorm and damage my roof,” I said to myself. My eyes shifted off of the Douglas fir, still focused upward. They landed on the moon, partially hidden by dark clouds. It was gorgeous. I imagined all of the nocturnal animals, many of which we have captured on our night-vision game camera like bears, mountain lions, and foxes, meandering in the wee hours of the night under the bright, moonlit sky. Eventually, I was able to peel my eyes away from the allure of the moon and, still looking up, I spotted the blinking lights of a jet advancing slowly across the western sky. I speculated that it was probably a military aircraft of some kind—not uncommon in that area of Colorado.

It is surprising what we miss by keeping our eyes focused on a level plain in front of us. When we take the time to look up, we might uncover lots of interesting sights that would otherwise escape our notice. Perhaps it is a bird’s nest in a tree, or a rapidly expanding hornets’ nest in the eaves. Maybe it is just a uniquely-shaped cloud in the sky on a bright sunny day. Sometimes looking up can even be a safety measure.

In my younger days I was a certified ASA umpire for fast-pitch softball. Whenever a high foul ball would make it over the backstop and into the stands behind home plate, I was trained at umpire school to immediately whirl and yell toward the spectators, “Look up!” Most spectators did not follow the ball much beyond where it left the bat. They were oblivious to the law of physics that states, “what goes up must come down.” Absent a warning, many an unaware spectator has ended up with a headache after a swiftly descending softball collided with his skull. (On such occasions the spectator also becomes acutely aware that a softball is not very soft.)

When is the last time you looked up? King David said that he started every morning by looking up. That is, he looked heavenward and directed his attention toward the Lord. “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” (Psalm 5:3)

Paul put it this way, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on earth.” (Colossians 3:2) Many people go through life seldom giving a thought to the spiritual realm. They lack a heavenly perspective. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20) They rarely look up.

When we look up, we may not see God— “No one has seen God at any time.” (John 1:18) Yet, like the owl in the lodgepole pine, we will know He is there. It is counterintuitive, in a way. Those who spend their days walking around with their heads pointed upward actually face fewer obstacles in life. It is those who fail to stop and look up who end up bumping into things. Have you looked up lately?

No Comments