Tender HeartsHow can we avoid being spiritually stubborn and unresponsive to God?
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Symphony (I Lift My Hands) by Louie Giglio: Devotional
- Written by Andrea Lucado
Think about all of the sounds. All of the countless sounds our earth makes: twigs cracking beneath your tennis shoes, waves rhythmically hitting the sand and receding again, wind rushing through a corridor, cicadas singing on a summer night. So many sounds that don’t include human voices or movements. Nature itself is enough to create a mighty chorus that reaches heaven.
Psalms 148:1 calls all of creation to praise God, from the heavens to us on earth. The psalm begins in the broad expanse we know very little about: the universe. “Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above” (Ps. 148:1). Then the angels are called on to worship, then the sun, moon, stars, earth, sea creatures, lightning, wind, mountains, animals and, finally, kings, princes, women, men and children. It takes 11 verses for us to be mentioned. Do you ever think about all of the beings and things besides us that are praising God? Could it be that all of those sounds—waves, whales, cracking twigs—combined create a giant chorus all for God’s glory?
It is all for his glory, after all. As verse 13 of the psalm says, “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted.” And the symphony is much more than our alto, tenor and soprano voices; it is all of creation, even the stars. Scientists have listened to the sounds giant stars make as they spin. Why else would these balls of light that are light years away make a sound if not for God to hear?
Considering our small voices in comparison with the sound of a super nova spinning in space, it makes you wonder why we are included in nature’s symphony at all. Surely God is receiving enough praise and not missing our squeaky songs. However, the Bible is very clear that we are set apart from the rest of creation. Genesis 5:1 explains, “When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.” We, unlike everything else, look like God. We are his children and our bodies are made for worshiping him (Romans 12:1). That is enough reason to spend the rest of our lives in constant praise and gratitude for being included in the chorus. Yet, many of us turn our worship to other things. We so quickly forget the one who actually deserves it.
The prophet Isaiah warned that God’s people were becoming worshipers of false gods: “Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made” (Isaiah 2:8). So if we are not lifting our hands in worship to our savior, we are lifting them in worship to something else. Imagine a baseball game, a Coldplay concert, good news about a promotion. The natural reaction to these events is to raise your hands in celebration. How much more should we raise our hands to the one that created the entire universe? A universe too vast for comprehension in which stars succumb to his glory.
We raise our hands in celebration and in awe of God, but we also raise them when crying out in pain. Consider what David wrote in Psalms 63:1: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”
Our body reaches for him in our pain, when we thirst for his goodness but do not see it in the world around us. Then we lift our hands in desperate hope. We lift them for help to get out of the pit in which we find ourselves.
No matter the motive for lifting our hands toward God, we are worshiping him. We worship through pain as we would through celebration. Psalms 77:6 says, “I remembered my songs in the night.” This is a critical perspective we as Christians are asked to have. Night is dark. You cannot see what’s ahead of you. Another mountain to climb? Deliverance? More stillness and quiet and waiting on the Lord? But think again about all of the sounds. The singing does not stop when the sun sets: crickets are just waking up, mist settles on the grass, rain falls on the pavement. There is just as much praise at night from creation as there is at dawn—it’s just a different type.
As nature does, we also can sing through the night. We can lift our hands through the darkness and above the pain. We join all of creation in singing no matter the hour or circumstance, and we let faith arise in our midst. For as we know from experience and as we’ve been promised in scripture, joy comes with the morning (Psalms 30:5).