But you, Yahweh, are a shield around me,
my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry out to Yahweh with my voice,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
Have you ever been so bent, so broken, that you couldn’t even lift your head?
The cool, overcast, miserable day in October 2020 when my husband and I had to put our beloved dog to sleep, I felt like the weight of the world was crushing me. I stumbled into my office, laid down on the floor, and cried as it all buried me—a weight so intense I physically couldn’t lift my head. I was so overwhelmed and unprepared, I couldn’t move for some time. Rocked with memories of my beloved, elderly companion of three years, who went to the vet so trustingly and never came home, I couldn’t raise my head.
In those moments, I felt a sort of kindred pain to these psalms—a sense that I was suffocating under a burden too great for me to rise up from. Though my weight was not of adversaries but of my own racing, uncontrolled thoughts, I carried it just the same; or rather, I crumbled under it.
Yet even under that heaviness, even in the crumbling, there is always hope. There is always deliverance waiting.
When I read verses like these, I always picture the same thing: the God of Heaven and earth reaching down, cupping the weary psalmist’s jaw, tilting his face up so he beholds, not just the horizon ahead, but the glory of God’s presence. His wonderful, beautiful face. His shining, undeniable light. In that moment, the writer looks upon the face of his rescuer and knows who He is, without a doubt; he knows this is Yahweh God, the one who raises his heavy head and relieves his burdens. The one who protects and delivers him.
There’s a quote from a book that goes, “I have no need to fear the army before me when I trust the one behind me.” So it is with God; when He lifts up our heads from their hanging, when He straightens our posture and brings our eyes from the ground to His face, the things that were so dark and despairing and overwhelming quickly fall away. There is a light before which no shadow can stand—the light of God’s delivering presence, the salvation of His mercy and tender love.
If you’ve experienced that presence, you know. It really goes beyond words. If you haven’t yet, I urge you today to commit the words of Psalm 3 to heart; to cry out to God when your adversaries or trials are many, even when it seems there is no deliverance for you. Throw your trust God save and sustain you; cry out to Him and watch how He answers from His holy mountain! When Yahweh lifts up your face, it’s unforgettable; when He delivers you, it’s something you’ll never forget.
So raise your voice. Cry out to Him. It’s time to raise your weary head.