Faith Column: 'Look up, child. There's hope.'

When you have hope, you have freedom.

Debbie Griffith (2).jpg
Debbie Griffith / Everyday Matters

I sat on the front steps, next to Joey, on a hot and sweaty Saturday, May 31, 2020, before he headed down to Minneapolis to serve with the National Guard. I looked down at our broken, messy sidewalk and felt the same way that the cement looked. My heart was heavy, and I was down.

I prayed aloud with Joey and then waited until Dan came home to say goodbye. There were so many emotions swirling around in my head, my heart and my spirit. It was almost overwhelming.

Joe left. Then Dan did, too. I sat alone, still looking down.

But then I distinctly heard God say, "Look up. Look up, child."

I heard God’s voice because I know it. John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear My voice. I know them and they follow Me.” Memorizing scripture has been a gift to me. I know hundreds of verses, not because a church or group study told me I should but because as I read the Bible and wrote in my journal, I would hear Him say, "You're gonna want to write this down and then memorize it.” There are so many times when I'm hurting and I can't open a book, can't pick up the phone, but I'll hear His voice in scriptures.


I looked up, and suddenly I seemed to recall all of Romans Chapter 12, which I had read the day previous. I’ve specifically memorized verses 17-21: "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

"Burning coals" is fiery love. It is "loving your enemies" just as God does. Then I heard God say, "Share 30 days of, 'Look up, child.'" I thought, "Even though I heard from God, I don't have to do this. He will love me regardless." I did not feel like sharing anything, but the blessing of obedience is always a freedom in my spirit, and life is not all about me. I began sharing on social media, June 1, via Instagram and Facebook.

The Lord cares. He cares about every single person no matter their shape, size, color, age, faith or gender. He fully knows us and fully loves us. He is "here"; ready and on the move to redeem all things. Nothing is wasted with Him.

On that same Saturday, I went to mass, by myself, because the church was open, quiet and felt holy. I like not having to talk to anyone, too. I know it may be odd because I'm not Catholic (who goes to church on a Saturday evening?) and I can't take communion, but I find my time at our small town's only Catholic church extremely comforting. It was Pentecost "Sunday" and John 20:22 was read, where Jesus breathed on the disciples and they received the Holy Spirit.

"Breathe on me, Holy Spirit," is often my prayer.

The Holy Spirit strength is the power we all need to forgive others, and sometimes it means forgiving ourselves by first repenting and changing the direction in which we've been heading. Although we have the power to forgive sins, it is not always easy to forgive sins. Whenever someone does something to me that I need to forgive, I must pray, "Holy Spirit, breathe on me and give me the strength to forgive this person." I do that because my emotions are screaming inside of me, "You have hurt me, and it's not fair!" At that point, I have to remember to let go and allow the God of justice to work everything out. I have to remind myself that my job is to pray; His job is to be my vindicator.

When we trust God, He always makes wrong things right in due time. I understand it's hard when someone does something hurtful to you. So, go to the Lord and receive from Him the strength to place your will on the altar and say, "Lord, I forgive this person. I loose them; I let them go," or, "Lord forgive me. I receive Your strength to forgive myself."

Once you have done that, let It drop. Don't think or talk about it anymore. Then, “Look up, child.” Walk in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, who makes His home in you once you’ve received the gift of the Savior, and then guard the truth of His love in your heart.


When you have hope, you’ll have freedom. You’ll look up. “Look up, child, look up.”

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