and he will lift you up

When I was in junior high school, I used to go over to my cousin’s house often. I looked up to my cousin Marty who was several years older than me. I loved my cousin. We would sit up in his room calling on his HAM radio anyone who would answer.
“Breaker, Breaker good buddy … are you out there?”
Unfortunately, I don’t think that all were good buddies.

As I entered high school, I did not see Marty as often. Marty was in some type of trouble and had been thrown from a moving vehicle out on to the highway. He would receive multiple injuries, and although God was eager to rescue his life, Marty was spiritually bankrupt. Marty was in with the wrong crowd and had become a heroin addict. It should have been a wake up call for him.

Years later, I ran into Marty just outside of the Port of Authority bus terminal. This was the first time that I would run into him after quite awhile. He was in a feeble state, and was begging on the streets of New York City. We would talk briefly, he would ask me for some money, and then move on. It was heart-wrenching to see him this way.

The second time that I ran into Marty, we were both crossing at an intersection at Broadway and …, but this time we had no words with each other as he quickly turned away from me, ashamed. I recall that he looked gaunt and many of his teeth were missing now. That was the last time I heard of or saw my cousin, until he was featured on the CBS 60-Minutes News Hour with Harry Reasoner about panhandlers. Marty would later be incarcerated at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison, where he would spend the rest of his life and die.

As a heroin addict, I learned from my aunt that Marty would check himself into and out of rehab centers, yet always return to his addiction after being released. Only if Marty had cried out to God to pick him up and help him get his feet back on the ground might he have been spared his sad fate. And yet a parallel can also be made to a believer’s life who refuses to allow God’s Word to penetrate their heart, who repeatedly asks God for forgiveness, but always returns to their sin.

How many of us wholeheartedly devote ourselves to the Lord God in all His ways? For most believers, it is so easy to get distracted and forget to cast our cares upon the Lord, especially “when all is well with me”. This was the psalmist David’s sentiments in Psalm 30. But, oh, how we wish that we might be lifted up from our mind’s distractions and the torture of unbelief when things are not going well; don’t we? David is not an exception.

Most of us will admit that we have all fallen from time to time just as David had. And perhaps many of us also keep coming back to God (maybe too many times), asking for God’s forgiveness, and that He might lift us up. But is it an earnest prayer, one that is wholeheartedly felt, a prayer of confession that we truly need God? Or is it like Marty who was in and out of rehab, only to return repeatedly to his sin of addiction? We all have addictions of some kind or another. Sin takes on many forms. Perhaps your sin is unbelief, or pride, or manipulation, or substance abuse or a sexual integrity addiction, or anger, or something else. Have you asked God to forgive you your sins and lift you up? Don’t be one whom God turns his face from.

The song Pick Me Up (composed by Bill Hutzel and John D’Elia, 2014) was inspired by Psalm 30, but can also find inspiration from Psalm 71:20 and James 4:10. So often we fancy ourselves as secure, and we think we can go it all alone. But when God hides His face from me because I choose to go it on my own, my soul cries out to Him to “Pick Me Up, and turn me around … Lord set me free, for I’ve been going it on my own, now it’s time for me to come home, Help me get my feet back on the ground.”

The psalmist David had a propensity for going it on his own, for he said “When all was well with me, I said, I will never be moved”. In Psalm 30:6-12 it says that David then asked for God’s mercy as he was shaken because God turned his face from him. God being compassionate, then lifts David from his troubles, turns his crying into dancing, and establishes his feet with joy on God’s firm foundation again.

But how do we go about picking ourselves up or restoring our relationship with God? James 4:10 says “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up”. To humble yourself means to be subservient and wholeheartedly devoted to God.   “and he shall lift you up; this is God’s way of lifting up those who seek Him in all things – Over time, as we mature in Christ, we find God lifting us up more frequently, and consequently changing us so that we become more like Christ. He draws us nearer to Him, and as a result we grow in faith and wisdom, better able to overcome our limited expectations of ourselves for overcoming sin in our lives. He delivers us from our old ways; He comforts us as we sing our praise to Him alone and raise our voice up to His throne, our arms outstretched to His delight, stars shimmering in His reflected light; He gives us a place with Him in eternity.

The song Pick Me Up is a prayer of confession that we need God to lift us up and deliver us – “Oh Lord, set me free”. It is a song of confession to God that we have all gone it on our own. “Now it’s time for me to come home, Help me get my feet back on the ground”.

God is eager to rescue us just as He was eager to deliver King David; just as He was eager to deliver Marty, although Marty was unaccepting of God’s help and mercy. He is eager to help us live successful and victorious lives. He wants us to draw near to Him so that we can know Him better and love Him more, and so that we might be empowered with with His Holy Spirit to do what is right, live in faith and do good works (Romans 7:18, Ephesians 2:4-10). Will we allow God to lift us up?

(Pick Me Up song lyrics)
Oh stand by me
Oh Lord, set me free
Oh I
’ve been goin’ it on my own
Now it
’s time for me to come home
Help me get my feet back on the ground

Pick me up and turn me around,
Jesus make a change in my life,
Pick me up and don
’t put me down,
Jesus make a change in my life.

Sing my praise to You alone
Raise my voice up to Your throne
My arms outstretched to Your delight
Stars shimmering in Your reflected light.

Oh stand by me
Oh Lord, set me free
Oh I
’ve been goin’ it on my own
Now it
’s time for me to come home
Help me get my feet back on the ground.

Pick me up and turn me around,
Jesus make a change in my life,
Pick me up, don
’t put me down
Jesus make a change in my life
.

If I’m up or if I down
Sing Hallelujah, we all bow down,
Let Your light, shine in me now,
Empower me with Your Spirit now.

Copyright 2015 by Bill Hutzel