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Just Look Up
By: Robert Berendt (published May 19, 2016)

A paper I recently came across contains some interesting facts about three creatures. No doubt this number can be expanded in different areas, but I found these fascinating especially when we relate them to our own lives. I have no record of the author for this paper, but as a child when we captured bumble bees, we knew this one fact to be true. Here are three truths that have the same interesting observation: "A bumblebee if dropped into an open tumbler or jar will be there until it dies unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists until it completely destroys itself." "If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top the bird in spite of its ability to fly will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top." "The ordinary bat that flies around at night a remarkable nimble creature in the air cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and no doubt painfully until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air Then at once it takes off like a flash" In all three of these examples, all that is missing is that out of habit or some inner inhibitor, these three will not try to rise or just look up to where their escape route lies.

To some extent we are all a little like these creatures. We are creatures of habit and find it hard if not impossible to change those habits. Habits form in our minds and once set, they are very hard to break. We struggle with our frustrations and problems and often slip into depression or hopelessness although the solution may be near. Thankfully we humans can change if we know the right direction and the help or advice of someone who is an expert in behaviour can make all the difference. In many ways we are like the buzzard the bat and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations never realizing that all we have to do is look up. That's the answer the escape route and the solution to any problem. Just look up. What do we mean "just look up?" Some have prayed and prayed that God would rescue them from a deep problem. Jesus promised to leave His peace with us (John 14:27). No matter what our situation - we only need to look up to Him. And yet that seems to be so very hard to do. We expect a certain answer or response from God and do not seem to recognize the escape or answer He gives.

Job tells us that his eyes poured out tears to God for help (Job 16:20). David wrote that he watered his couch with tears and then said God heard his weeping and will receive his prayer (Psalm 6:6,8). Psalm 116 is a whole Psalm that said the author loved God because God heard. The writer expresses his request for God to hear and be merciful. In verse 10 and 11 he expresses being afflicted because he spoke and said in haste "all men are liars." He goes on to pay his vows and thanksgiving to God even in the face of death. Isaiah wept for the trouble that came to Moab (Isa. 16:9). Then he praises God for being a refuge in a storm, a maker of a feast of choice things and the One who will wipe away all tears (Isa. 25:18). In the midst of some of the troubles of Hezekiah, God told him that He had seen his tears and heard his cry and would deliver him out of trouble (Isa. 38:5,6). Esau sold his birthright through his foolishness and poured out tears when he asked for mercy - but was rejected (Heb. 12:15) and in that rejection Paul noted that we are to look carefully lest we fall short of the grace of God because we are not simply engaged in some worldly activity in our lives. Humans are the ones God is working with to prepare them for eternal life and a great inheritance. Paul said "we have come before Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem to an innumerable company of angels to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speak better things than that of Abel." (Heb. 12:15-24,28,29). There is so much to consider in the words of Paul.

Yes, we will suffer in this life and be abused and misused. We live in a world of darkness governed and controlled by the enemy of God. There is so much more power and glory in the future God offers that nothing on earth - no suffering - no disappointments - no losses - no fears - not even death should turn us from God. Thinking on the powerful words of Paul, should remind us of similar words written to the Roman church. Paul said nobody and nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:33-39). Paul is writing about God's elect - His chosen ones who will be with Him for eternity. More amazing than these words are those that describe tears that Christ shed in the days of His flesh. Paul said even Jesus Christ learned obedience by the things that He suffered (Heb. 5:6-8). Jesus was divine, but He was also human. He had to struggle against the inner needs and desires He had and continue to focus on His Father. We sometimes feel it is wrong to lift our head or hands when we pray to God. We bow and remain in a bowed position, but we are encouraged to lift our hands and we cannot do that well without lifting our heads and looking up (Heb. 12:12, I Tim. 2:8). Jesus looked up toward the heavens when He prayed for people (Luke 24:50). Psalm 121 gives the very positive encouragement to look up to the hills. Our help comes from the Lord and He will not allow our foot to slip.

We humans have grown used to shedding tears and having our parents respond to our needs and wants. We are now experiencing the parenting of God which has a far, far loftier goal that we can imagine. Suffering, it seems, is something we all learn from. But we humans also have a breaking point when suffering is too severe. Paul wrote that God would not allow people to be tempted beyond what they are able to withstand without making a way of escape (I Cor. 10:13). Paul then said to flee idolatry. God cannot be tempted and He does not tempt us, but Satan does. When we think we should "just look up" we mean to turn to God for His escape route. That is the direction of freedom, but it sometimes leads in a direction that we are not prepared for. Just like the bee, we are not programmed to fly upward. Jesus tells of the tax collector who would not lift his eyes to heaven (Luke 18:13,14) but he was humble and so accepted by God. Looking up is showing trust in God that He will do what He promised. Knowing what He promised is a key to our understanding. We will not be disappointed or stuck in a never ending cycle if we turn to God with all our heart, soul and mind. We are able to seek, test, probe and find His way of escape from all of our troubles if we watch and pray that we might be counted worthy to escape (Luke 21:33-36). We need to look up to Christ and He will lead.

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