SUPPORT FROM WITHIN
“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
I cradled the bright red lobster in my hands, gingerly moving each articulating joint. It was amazing. As an endoskeleton, I’m not used to seeing and handling my own bones and joints. They lie well hidden beneath layers of muscle, connective tissue, nerves, blood vessels, fat, and skin. But lobsters, like other crustaceans, go about things differently. They conceal nothing of their girding. They are supported from without. While not actually wearing their hearts on their sleeve, they do bare all when it comes to their mechanics.
We people are different and not just because we are endoskeletons; frankly, I prefer not to think too much about the skeleton within me. We are different because of the primary core of soul we house deep within our being.
This nucleus of our being was designed to dwell with God in unhindered community. But you and I know the nitty gritty of every day life. We know the curse of our sin. Unhindered community with God doesn’t seem to happen on a daily basis. We are battered from without, and sometimes batter ourselves from within. We are distracted, disturbed, and disoriented from our true calling to be in relationship with our Maker.
But thanks be to God, He cares more deeply about His plan to connect with us than we do ourselves. And He has access to that deep inner place in our souls that no one else does. In fact, the psalmist says, “You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head”. It’s like God surrounds and supports our soul with a divine inner exoskeleton that is central to us functioning as we were designed. His inner presence protects, defends, and supports us; it provides a framework for our spiritual musculature that enables us to rise up and accomplish real, eternal tasks.
So how do we open ourselves to the inner working of God’s Spirit in our lives? Let’s look at what the psalmist David does. We don’t read him saying here, “He, the LORD, is a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head”. That would be narration. It would be David discussing in third-person mode God’s action in his life. That happens; it’s happening now as you read this. But David says, “You, O LORD”. He’s speaking directly to God. He’s praying.
David bares his soul candidly before God and finds, voilà, that God is there; not only there in thought but also in function. David’s prayer opens his own eyes to God’s sustaining function deeper than skin, bone, or muscles.
Once again we find prayer is the language of our deepest self. It allows us to worship the One who lifts us up. It allows us to acknowledge His active ministrations deep, deep within ourselves. When we speak to Him we see more of Him and we give more of ourselves to Him.
Deeper than my deepest being,
gird me, holy framing God,
within a realm where I would fall
but for You, my soul’s Rod and Staff.
O lifter of my soul and head
to higher places than I knew,
come fill me with Your Spirit’s form
that I may rise to fall upon
my knees before You Mighty One.