Today’s song has long spoken into the very depths of my heart of the presence of God in the high and low places of my life.
When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountainsYou raise me up, today’s version performed by Josh Groban
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be ….
It evokes, particularly, memories of many trips down from the inland plateau of the Highveld in which Johannesburg is located to the southern coast of Kwa-zulu Natal – for family holidays (both as a child and as a parent), formation for ministry, and silent retreat.
The long drive alone was often a wonderful time of contemplation and quiet as I watched the rolling plains give way to flat fields of wheat and sunflowers to the steep and winding pass through the mountains.
Always, I would stop for a cup of coffee and to stretch my legs just off of Van Reenen’s Pass … and to get my playlist ready for the next part of the journey. Always this song would play (very, very loudly and on repeat) as my eyes took in the wondrous beauty of God’s good creation in its green and browns and the play of light and dark on the open hills and leafy valleys.
Always, the words of the Psalmist would come to mind:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—Psalm 121:1-2, New International Version
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
As you listen, may you feel the hands of God enfold you gently,
offering you sufficient help for this day,
and leading you into life in the wide open spaces
of mercy and grace.