In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed.
2 In Your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
Incline Your ear to me and save me.
3 Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come;
You have given commandment to save me,
For You are my [a]rock and my fortress.
I have become a marvel to many,
For You are my strong refuge.
8 My mouth is filled with Your praise
And with Your glory all day long.
I read these verses this morning in the few extra minutes I had before leaving for work. My mind immediately formed a picture (it does that more than I like to admit) of a brightly burning fire inside a cave. As I lay on my bed of tender green pine branches, I watched the fire shadows dancing around the walls of the cave as if the flames were performing a circle dance.
Outside the cave, a terrible storm was raging. Wind and snow were beating on the outside of the rock. Branches and other debris, driven by the wind, were smashing against the face of the rock outside, collapsing in bits and pieces all around.
But I was safe and warm inside the cave where the only evidence of the storm was the occasional sound of the howling wind.
I thought of all the times I have run to God, my rock of habitation, and He has sheltered me from all the chaos going on in life. In every one He brought peace, confidence, strength and comfort to my soul, so much so that others wondered how I could remain joyful and peaceful through the raging storm.
There were two delivery room emergencies. Both times His voice pierced through with promises from His Word filling me with reassurance and strength. The first time I heard Him say “you can do ALL things through me because I will strengthen you.” I heard this at the end of of 32 hours of labor and while they were asking me to something that physically was impossible during contractions. Within a few minutes, my daughter was born.
The other delivery room emergency involved my youngest daughter’s heart rate. God brought 2 Samuel 22:21, the same verse He had spoken to my heart on the morning I found out that I was pregnant with her, on the day when the doctor told me that I was probably going to lose her, and on the day when the doctor told me that I had lost her. What?, you’re asking? I didn’t lose her, but the doctor told me I had. I refused to believe Him so he did a sonogram to prove to me that he was right and found out that he wasn’t. Furthermore, he found no evidence of bleeding, scar tissue or a detaching placenta, which former x-rays had shown.
There was the day when the Lord had laid upon my heart to pray for one of my children and they ended up ingesting medication later that day. The doctor was very concerned and fully expected that I would end up in the emergency room. I, on the other hand, knew that God had handled it already that morning, so I just waited and watched Him protect my kid.
There were several times when others who did not have my best interest at heart were trying to get me to believe things that weren’t true in an effort to render me ineffective and causing me to be confused. God spoke the truth to me with a clear, strong voice and kept me from making wrong decisions and developing wrong opinions about myself. It was then that I learned to do what David did and encourage myself in the Word, a practice I still do often, even if there is no crisis. It truly lifts you above your current circumstances and helps you see things from God’s perspective, making them seem much smaller than they had been before. What a release and relief to see things from God’s point of view and to know that nothing is too big or hard for Him to handle.
There was the literal chaos of a roadside accident where most of our worldly possessions and my children lay strewn about a field as if our van had exploded and everything had flown out. Even there, God spoke to my heart, several times, above all the sirens, the rescue workers shouting, the blaring radios, the roar of the jaws of life and the snow plows. He said, “I have answered your prayers” and then when a rescue worker announced that two of my children were unresponsive “that can’t be!”, which prompted me to run to them and pray again. There was the definite “NO” that came when the doctor wanted to put one of my children on seizure medicine, something that made total sense in the natural to do. She’s never had a seizure since.
In all our crises of life, no matter how quickly they might come upon us, how hard they might come upon us, how powerful they seem, how hopeless they seem, how much they hurt, even if we know that every breathe we take that day is an extension of God’s power and grace in our lives, we have His promises to hide in. Yes, we remain in the storm, but it’s not pelting us with it’s fierceness. Instead we are warmed by His promises, we are strengthened by the power they reveal, we are encouraged that they never change...and yes, we can dance in the light of God’s love while everything else rages around us.
This knowledge is what caused Paul and Silas to sing although they were facing certain death. This is what caused Peter to step onto the water. This is how the three Hebrew children could refuse to bow and how the Shunammite woman could reply “it is well” to the prophet when asked about her son’s health. He had just died hours before.
This is what is different about a Christian. We are not swayed by our circumstances, we are not fearful in chaos. We hold a certain and strong assurance in the face of every tragedy. We go through things but all the while are covered by the rock hard protection and oversight of Almighty God. That knowledge gives us a different demeanor and a different dialogue. We should be a wonder to them.
THIS is what the world is looking for. THIS is what they need. How will they hear, how will they know if we do not hear and know this for ourselves? How can we comfort others with this comfort if we have never received it for ourselves?
Today I choose to dwell in the Rock!