I Lift Up My Eyes To The Hills: Where Will I Find Help?
CHAP Al Lavaki
I was deployed with MTF1, 6RAR Battle Group to Afghanistan last year for 9 months. It was a very difficult deployment with so many KIA and WIA during my time there. I chose my title because in Uruzgan, we were surrounded by mountains and hills everywhere we travelled. Lots of people have asked me how did I manage to fulfil my responsibilities as a Chaplain in the midst of grief, struggles and troubles. My answer is always, “My helps come from the Lord” as the writer of Psalm 121 confesses.
Uruzgan is a barren desert with dust everywhere. The desert was symbolic of hopelessness and nothingness. In the midst of this dry land, soldiers came to me for comfort and prayer when their mates were killed. I also recall the tragic memorial services looking across at the soldiers with tears in their eyes… looking up to me for comfort. People might say that they do not believe in God, but when they struggle they look for hope and peace from me. Why?
Because we all have limits as human-beings – but by looking up and seeking God’s face we draw strength to carry on. The blessing of being a Christian is that we have someone special to draw our energy from. In the midst of a barren land and hopelessness, I lifted my eyes to those hills and called upon his name and he helped me out. How did I manage to do my job? I did it because of God’s promises that he is there for us no matter where we are.
I would like to share some verses that were of great encouragement to me in Afghanistan:
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5c
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1b
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
I lift up my eyes to the hills; where will I find help? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
The above verses demonstrate God’s covenant and promise to uplift us in times of trouble. This is a promise that we must claim wherever we are – and no matter what the situation is. I finished my deployment through hope in God’s faithfulness during tragic times…because no matter what the circumstances around us – God is good all the time.