You Raise Me Up 1/9/23

It always amazes me how the Lord uses circumstance to reveal His truth to us, how He sometimes combines the things we encounter into a catalyst that can touch the deepest place in our hearts with an overwhelming love.

It was a year ago on January 3 that my dad died. Over the past year, there have been many memories and emotions that have surfaced. This morning I had some errands to run. As I pulled out of the driveway, I put in a CD to listen to. One of the first songs that played was “You Raise Me Up.” I immediately became teary eyed and choked up.

As I listened to this song, I thought of my dad. My dad, not just my father, but my coach and teacher. Dad was a high school coach for many years. Some of my earliest memories are of going to practices and games. The first time I went to a practice, I was in a baby buggy. I went to watch Dad practice when he was a football player in college. Of course, I don’t remember that event, but I was told about it.

In many ways, I grew up in a locker room. My dream was that someday I would get to play on my dad’s team. That day did finally arrive. When I was in high school, Dad was my football coach and my wrestling coach. After all of those years of watching from the sidelines, all of those years of looking up to those guys who played for Dad, it was finally my turn.

Dad coached many championship teams and individuals. One of my proudest achievements was that I, too, became one of Dad’s champions. As a wrestler, I won the Wisconsin Valley League championship as a sophomore and the East Kansas League championship as a senior, among a couple of others.

The last time we saw Dad was just a few months before he died. I told him then that he had made me more than I could be. And then this morning, as I heard the words being sung, “You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains. 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.”

I began to cry as I remembered all of the times and all of the ways that Dad raised me up to more than I could be, not just as a coach, but as my father. Then I began to think of many others that God placed in my life who also raised me up. I am where I am today, not because of anything great in me, but because of those who allowed me to stand on their shoulders, those who taught me, and loved me, and allowed me to stand on mountains and to walk on stormy seas.

And, when I was lost in sin and death, the Son of God died on a cross to take away my sin, and to give me eternal life. Jesus Christ has raised me up out of the darkness. He has raised me up to stand on His shoulders. He has raised me up to salvation, which I could never have possessed on my own.

I thank God for the blessing of having a father who loved, disciplined, and inspired me to be better than I was, both in athletics and in life. I thank God for the blessing of having so many others in my life who have also raised me up. And, above all, I thank God for the blessing of His Son who died that I might live, who gives me strength to mount up with wings as eagles.

I can truly say with the psalmist, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Pastor Haney