One of the most popular and inspiring songs written and sung by contemporary artists is “You Raise Me Up.” The song was composed by the Irish-Norwegian duo, Secret Garden, written by Rolf Løvland, with lyrics by Brendan Graham. It quickly became a hit in the United Kingdom, and in 2003 was included on Josh Groban’s album, Closer.
Even though the song could apply to a lover lifting the spirits of his or her love, the soul-stirring song is usually interpreted as applying to how God, Jesus Christ, lifts us up. With this in mind, it could easily have been subtitled, “God My Weightlifter.”
The lyrics tell of how God lifts us up when our soul is weary and troubles come. The uplifting words describe how he raises us on high mountains, on stormy seas, and on his shoulders, helping us to be all we can be.
Lifting Up Is Our Calling
When we bear the name “Christian,” we are called to be like Christ, encouraging one another and building each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Like Christ, we are to lift each other up, especially those who are down and hurting in any way. We are lifted up by Christ so we can lift others. We are comforted so we can comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). We are forgiven so we can forgive (Matthew 6:14-15).
By lifting up others, you’re lifting up yourself.
How do we train to be one of God’s weightlifters? The more we lift others up by helping them, by serving God’s discouraged and hurting people, the more confidence we gain in our ability to do it, and in God’s ability to give us the strength to do it.
Just like the weightlifter in the gym who gains strength and builds muscle by lifting more frequently and progressively heavier weights, the more we uplift others, the stronger we become spiritually, exercising and building our spiritual muscles.
Helping Remove the World's Weights
A “spotter” often stands by a weightlifter as he or she tries to lift heavier weights. The spotter stands behind the weightlifter to assist if needed and help remove the weights so the lifter can recover.
God calls us to “spot” others, standing ready to assist and help remove the weighty issues that burden them beyond their ability. And as the scriptures make it clear, as we give of ourselves by lifting up others, we are lifted up by the same measure (Luke 6:38).
Finally, when you find yourself burdened by daily struggles or unexpected challenges that weigh heavily on your shoulders, remember, you have the greatest “spotters” of them all, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Listen to God's Words
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrew 10:24-25)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
Also read: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Romans 15:12, Hebrews 10:25
In the Words of Others
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” Charles Dickens
“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.” Jesse Jackson
“We rise by lifting others.” Robert Ingersoll
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else up.” Booker T. Washington
Think About It
After reading this reflection and the scriptures, do you think you are one of God’s weightlifters? Explain why, citing examples.
How do you think you are lifted up by lifting up others or relieving them of burdens and troubles that might be weighing them down physically, emotionally, or spiritually?
Describe a time when you needed a lift and someone “spotted” you when the emotional or spiritual weight on your shoulders was too much to bear.
When you need a lift, do you first turn to God or those around you? How do you feel about your answer?