||What's behind the music... Lift Up
Category: Bible Study Devotionals
This blog is the first entry in a devotional series based on the songs we've written. Check in again soon for more devotionals, and we pray that you are encouraged by these thoughts...
Words and Music by Daniel Chookaszian
Approximate date written: 2004
Psalm 121:1-2, Lamentations 3:41
From the CD "Testimony"
Lead vocal by Daniel Chookaszian
Background vocal and keyboard by Ben Snyder
Electric guitar by Don Chookaszian
Bass guitar by Steve Smith
Drums and percussion by Will Brown
Acoustic rhythm guitar by JP Chookaszian
Paul teaches us to speak to one another with "Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." As a worship leader and songwriter, I couldn’t help but notice that although many of Psalms express pain and sorrow to the Lord, fewer of our worship songs contained lyrics with the same level of honesty. Sometimes I think we feel like we need to be strong in front of each other during church services by not admitting the desperate nature of our need to God, at least publicly. So, I felt like the church was in need of a song that publicly confessed to God (and to each other) our experience of pain, trouble, and anxiety. Lift Up is a song that raises these pains and sorrows of life to the LORD, alongside our love and praise. This mixture of joy and sorrow, blessing and pain, is often seen in the Psalms. Life is often a combination of strength and struggle, and what we learn from the Psalms is that it's not only okay to bring all of ourselves to God in this way, it's what God wants.
Peter says, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." Jesus says, "Do not be anxious, for your Father knows your need before you ask Him." God cares so much for us; He is not expecting us to be stoic and strong on our own. He wants us to bring our cares and to Him. He knows our need and wants to answer our cries for help.
Lift Up's first verse is designed to usher the individual worshippers before the Lord with their heart issues of trouble, hurt, anxiety about tomorrow, love for God, and a desire to see permanent change their lives. The second verse moves worshippers into corporate identification with the body of Christ. It is a corporate prayer for each other, which brings the individual worshippers into the recognition that they are part of Christ's body, and that the problems, suffering, or pain they are experiencing are not unique to themselves alone. It is often through identification with Christ's body that we find strength, recognizing with Peter that "our brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." We are not alone in our difficult experiences. Christ is here to help us, and so is His body, the church.
The chorus leads the worshippers to take their eyes off of their situation, though, and lift them to the Lord, whose sovereign throne is in heaven. It leads them to lift their hands to the Son of God, who came to earth to be one of us -- Jesus, the Word who became to dwell among us and become obedient to death on the cross for our sins. The chorus leads the worshippers to lift their inner hearts and minds to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking Him to change them on the inside in the midst of their situations.
The bridge of Lift Up also incorporates the common idea of "crying out" found in the Psalms. It is an individual and corporate cry for healing from the Lord as the worshippers pray, cry out, love, praise, and lift up their entire lives to the Lord. The Lord often brings healing and transformation to men and women who come to Him with all of themselves in this very posture of worship.
My prayer is that the individual worshippers who comprise the body of Christ will find greater levels of healing and grace as they lift up all of who they are to the Lord in corporate worship.
Lord, I lift up my troubles ~ Lord, I lift up my pain
Lord, I lift up my hurts to You, God ~ may I never be the same
Lord, I lift up tomorrow ~ Lord, I lift up today
Lord, I lift up my love to You, God ~ may I never be the same
As I lift up my eyes to You ~ whose throne is in heaven
As I lift up my hands to You ~ who came to the earth
As I lift up my heart to You ~ to change me from inside
As I lift up my mind to You, Jesus Christ
Lord, we lift up each other ~ Lord, we lift up our praise
Lord, we lift up our church to You, God ~ may we never be the same
Lord, we lift up tomorrow ~ Lord, we lift up today
Lord, we lift up this time to You, God ~ may we never be the same
As we lift up our eyes to You ~ whose throne is in heaven
As we lift up our hands to You ~ who came to the earth
As we lift up our hearts to You ~ to change us from inside
As we lift up our minds to You ~ Jesus Christ
We lift up our eyes to You ~ whose throne is in heaven
And we lift up our hands to You ~ who came to the earth
We lift up our voices ~ singing Your praises
Praying You’ll come Lord, come Lord, heal us in this place
As we pray, as we cry, as we lift, as we love, as we praise,
Come and heal us in this place, Lord
As we pray, Lord ~ as we pray, Lord, come and heal us in this place
Lord, we lift up our troubles ~ Lord, we lift up our pain
Lord, we lift up our lives to You, God ~ may we never be the same