Friday, December 16, 2011

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I (4)

Psalm 40: 2
He drew me up from the pit of destruction
(a horrible pit, NKJV, a pit of despair NLT),
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I (3)

 You may wonder where an 'old lady' like me has experience of climbing up a rock 'higher than I' a young adult I went hiking in the Gamsaskloof Mountains, South Africa. There, there is a rock that ever person who goes there must climb, a rock much, much 'higher than I'.

It is buried deep in the deepest, steepest gorge I have ever climbed; down in this gorge which we
called by the local name, 'De Hell'; it is a rock 'higher than I'. (This rock is in actual fact dwarfed by the magnificent gorge it sits in and so in a sense it looks small by comparison.). One must swim across a large mountain rock pool, until you come to this towering rock. The reward here is not so much the view, but the reward of a massive dive into the icy water below. 

Do you know how I know that it is harder to go backwards down, rather than forwards up a rock? I got to the top of that rock and could not get myself to dive, so I cambered all the way back down instead. We had no safety ropes, no safety nets. 

I notice that there are no photographs on the Internet that show this actual gorge. And I wonder if it is now closed  to the public. We knew the name of this gorge as De Hell. Now it seems that the general area is called by this name. Maybe one day if the Lord so blesses me, I will go back there and see for myself. I wonder if I would attempt to climb that rock again? I know I will go down for a swim in the magnificent gorge if I can. There are other gruelling hikes in that area, with magnificent views at the end of the effort as your reward. And I know I would take on this challenge for I know that the view is worth the agony, even for an 'old lady' like me.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I (2)

 Have you ever clamoured up a massive rock higher than you? It can be a gruelling, excruciatingly painful, sweaty experience, full of hardship. You can be pushed to your furthest physical capacity, to the point where you feel as if you just have to, 'let go', to give up. Why? Because you are shaking in the agony of the strain..."how can I ever be strong enough not to go plummeting to death?" you wonder...and yet our Lord is our safety net or the safety rope that keeps us anchored and ensures that if we fall, we will not be smashed on the ground below. As one clamours up a gruelling challenging rock you wonder...."How can I overcome such weakness? How could I ever have thought of myself as fit and healthy and full of strength before this?" There is a realistic realisation of how pathetically weak we are; of our utter dependence on God for our safety and ability to carry on. There is a deep desire to 'give up' to go backwards, and yet going backwards is always harder than going forwards.

And yet when we reach the top there is a euphoric exhilaration....the exhilaration of a job finally 'well done'. There is a feeling that all the enduring hardship being a worthwhile the effort; an immense feeling of freedom, freedom from pain, freedom from the burden of hardship of getting there. It is a time to exult in the beautiful reward as you drink in the 360 degree view, the splendid beauty we behold. Our focus shifts from gripping and staring at the rock face in front of you, to the splendid view around and about - our look becomes outward.

If God leads us and we let Him lead us up the rock 'higher than I', there will be no going backwards because we took the wrong path; no retracing of our steps, no going backwards to go forwards, no unnecessary pain. There is joy and peace in his gentle leading, no matter how hard the gruelling uphill clamour.

Psalm 18: 35 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
36 You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.

Do you realise too that our Lord himself is our Rock of Ages, our fortress, our place of safety!
Isaiah 26:3 

You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I (1)

Psalm 61: 2 reads, "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I" 
in the context of

1. Hear my cry, O God,

listen to my prayer;

from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.

This has been a good verse to meditate on over past weeks. To remember that the Lord will lead us to a place 'higher than I', if we keep crying out to Him. The week before last we went to Currumbin Beach the mouth of the river between the river and the sea is a massive rock, much 'higher than I'; the wind blew stinging sand and the tide was coming in. How I wished we could clamber up this rock, but there was no way up that I could see. 

God will keep us safe from the 'stinging sand' in life, and protect us from the swirling sucking currents, from dangerous waters. He will also give us a magnificent view of our surroundings, 360 degrees; a view of life from His perspective if we let him lead us to a rock 'higher than I'. How good that He takes us beyond our usual pathways....that we might learn to follow, that we may know His safety and protection, and that we can see life a little better from His viewpoint. I look at Google maps now and Currumbin Beach's massive rock looks so puny, so miniscule. In reality it is less than a pin prick in the whole universe, and yet it is a rock 'higher than I'. So too no doubt is our view/perspective on life. What grace that He leads us to a rock, 'higher than I’. What joy will be ours when we finally reach heaven and gain an even better perspective on life and for an eternity. What peace to know His loving arms around us, to know we are safe, even now, for 'He leads us to a rock higher than I'.

Psalm 27:5b says, He shall lift me high upon a rock. What a beloved 'day by day' Saviour/Rescuer we have, who takes us daily to higher ground.