There are many wonders to ponder when it comes to how the human body is made. On the rare occasions we actually pause to consider the nature of our physical construction, we can’t help but be amazed. How the heart beats, how the lungs mindlessly expand and contract, how the brain takes in stimulus, processes the appropriate response, and then calls on appendages and extremities to react in a coordinated fashion. If you pause but a few minutes to think about the fact that your body works the way your body works you can’t help but whisper, “I really am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14).
So here’s the amazing body part I’m thinking about this morning: my neck muscles. Specifically, how the neck muscles give out when the soul is overwhelmed. Whether it’s because of sorrow, or due to that unwanted tsunami of anxiety when all the cares of your world converge at once and flood every inch of your being, often when we feel overwhelmed we involuntarily find ourselves with our heads down.
Is it because, when we feel sapped of all strength, our body starts to draw from other areas and targets the neck first? Or because our brains become so overloaded with stuff to deal with that they become too heavy for the neck muscles we’ve developed? Or, is it just God’s way of wiring us to physically indicate submission. An instinctive response that physically says it’s all too much, that we can’t carry the load on our own? I don’t know. Just thinking.
What’s got me thinking? Psalm 3.
O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah.
But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the Lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the LORD, and He answered me from His holy hill. Selah.
I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
(Psalm 3:1-5 ESV)
A song written when David fled from Absalom. The king dethroned by his own son. The culmination of family dysfunction and sordid sin which, had David acted differently, might have been avoided. But here he was, the king fleeing his kingdom. His enemies led by his own family. His very existence a threat to those who sought power. His death necessary to secure their future. “How many are my foes!” pens the persecuted poet.
And yet, but a couple of lines later, “I lay down and slept; I woke again.” Talk about a flip flop of emotions. From worrying about rising enemies to waking from resting comfortably. What happened?
. . . for the LORD sustained me . . .
. . . a shield about me, my glory, and the Lifter of my head . . .
How’s that for lesser known names of Jehovah? Lifter of my head!
When the neck muscles give out, He is the Lifter of my head.
Maybe that’s why the Creator created them that way. So that when our chins touch our chest because our souls are overwhelmed by our situation, He can be the lifter of our head. A physical indicator of His supernatural presence. Reminding us that our shield and our protection is engaged and active. That He will be our glory, His purposes for us His to fulfill. And so, He lifts our head to show us He’s near.
He lifts our head so we can look to heaven. Lifts our head so we can cry out in our need, as David did, knowing our God will hear and our God will answer from His holy hill. Lifts our head so we can rest. Because the LORD sustains us.
Thankful this morning for weak neck muscles (better than being stiff-necked for sure . . . but that’s something to chew on for another time).
Thankful, for in my weakness His power is made perfect (2Cor. 12:9). His all-sufficient, sustaining power as the Lifter of my head.
By His grace. For His glory.