I recently came across this verse during a particularly down time in my life, one of those (necessary) times when we are reminded just how small we are and what it means to be broken. We all have faced times like these, and I can think of no better word picture then to say my head was hanging low.
In today’s world there are all sorts of solutions to this very common problem, many valid and good. I have heard of everything from exercise to caffeine, sugar or NO sugar, funny movies, coffee with friends, or my favorite, “Lie down and relax…now imagine you are on a tropical island…listen to the calming rush of the sea upon the shore, the breeze blowing through the coconut trees…” I have found that does not work very well when you actually live in the tropics with breezes blowing through your coconut trees night and day. What they fail to add to that picture is the heat, the humidity, the malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and people constantly asking you for things. Welcome to my world.
Let me ask though, what is so wrong with hanging your head low? Nothing, in itself—we all face down times. However, think for a moment, how you would you live if your head literally hung low all the time? Try this for an exercise: touch your chin to your chest, look down, and try to walk around a busy street. What happens to your sense of direction? You do not have any! You are at risk of hurting yourself and others around you. Are you even aware of others around you when you are looking down? No! You see one thing only—yourself (and perhaps the ground you step on). What does that tell you about existing in this state? Would you be aware of the needs of others around you? Would you even know where you were going or how to get there? No. Your focus would be YOU.
I was thinking of this word picture as I read through Psalm 3 the other day: But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice and He heard me from His holy hill. Wonderful hope lies in this verse. I actually like the older King James version that says the lifter of my head. What we are most in need of in times like this is a head lift (not a face lift—although that may be what we think we need)!
Who alone can lift our head? Who alone can help us to look upward and outward and keep our eyes off self and on Him and the world in which He has us? I like how the verse begins with a reminder that He is our protector. Even when we are low and walking around haphazardly all down-and-out, He is still protecting us. Yet that is not where He wants us, nor can He much use us there. So, when we cry to Him, we can know that He hears us and will come with His FREE ‘head-lifting service.’ He will pull us out of the mire and muck and place us on solid ground, with a good view of the road before us and the world around us.
Now, I am not saying for a minute that these other coping mechanisms are not helpful. A relaxing hot bath, a good romantic comedy, a box of dark chocolates—those are all helpful sidekicks to head lifting. Of course, if you live in the tropics with heat and humidity, the hot bath is not quite so wonderful. As for the dark chocolates? Well, last time I was at the local market they had plenty of dried fish and coconuts, but they were fresh out of dark chocolate! I will say, though, that I still have my chick flicks to help keep me afloat and laughing. Yet no matter our coping preference, may we never lose sight of the lone truth that He alone is our glory, and the lifter of our heads.