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Widening our gaze

Posted Tuesday 30 June 2020

Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

David wrote these words in the time after he was made King, which means in the period after he spent many years on those exact same hills that he now gazes at. In fact, he had hidden in those very hills from a crazy King determined to end his life. So, when David lifted his eyes, he didn’t just observe an amazing landscape; he saw his own past. He remembered a life in exile, travelling amongst those hills, hiding and sleeping in caves. He was reminded of a dark time of despair and hopelessness. I’d suggest he also remembered something greater. He remembered God’s protection. He remembered God’s faithfulness. He remembered finding safety in the cleft of the Rock. When he looked up and saw those hills in the far distance, David remembered the enduring presence of God. One imagines this brought him great assurance and joy. His heart was settled as he considered a God who would “watch over (his) coming and going both now and forevermore” (Psalm 121:8)

I chose this extract from a well-known Psalm in order to highlight that there is something so valuable to be gained from lifting up our eyes, looking up or widening our gaze. Literally, changing our perspective.

To draw a ‘visionary’ parallel, it’s not surprising that eye strain is becoming an increasing problem due to the growing use of technology and many hours spent on computer screens or mobile phones. By way of a practical solution, the website ‘All About Vision’ advises “to reduce your risk of tiring your eyes by constantly focusing on your screen, look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. Some opticians call this the ’20-20-20 rule’. Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue.”

We are at a moment in time when globally, we’re under pressure. We are all asking big questions about what we’re facing, and often what we’re facing is hard and challenging. So it can be that we become so focused on the stresses and strains of life, that we can’t see beyond where we are. We can sometimes lose sight of the fact that we have a God who made the heavens and the earth, who is also our personal helper. A God who “himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you…”(Deut 31:8)

So, just as those vision experts advise us to change our focus and adjust our viewpoint to give us relief and reduce the strain, I think God sometimes asks us to do the same on a deeper level. He wants to restore our spiritual sight and reduce our fatigue. In order to do this, He asks us to step back from what we’re in the midst of, to consider again – His majesty – His character – His faithfulness to us in the past – and, of course, His previous words to us. We sometimes need a fresh perspective; we need to widen our gaze.

We at Heaven in Healthcare have been thinking about what God might be saying in this season. It’s a much-asked question, and may actually demand that we step back, widen our perspective, and look at what He was already saying before the current crisis. In particular, we’ve been paying special attention to a prophetic word from Graham Cooke last year.

God already knew last year what we would be facing this year, and so by digging into this prophetic word from last August we find a God who reminds us “The world and its chaos is no match for the Kingdom and the magnitude of my presence”.

Our gaze is drawn to a God who says “The promise of who I am for you is greater than any threat coming against you. Even as circumstances get darker in the world, the light of my face will shine with favour, with blessing, with miracles and with resources.”

Take a look up, widen your gaze, and be blessed.

You can find this Crafted Prophetic Word by Graham Cooke, which was presented at the ELA Conference last Summer, by downloading the ‘Dream Revolution’ app here:

Helen Davies, Heaven in Healthcare Team