Friday, December 12, 2014

My Cliff to Climb

Monday, December 15, 2014
You’re my cave to hide in, my cliff to climb.  
Be my safe leader, be my true mountain guide.  
Free me from hidden traps; I want to hide in you.  
I’ve put my life in your hands.  
You won’t drop me, you’ll never let me down.      
Psalms 31:3-5 (MSG)
This picture was taken on a family visit to Pilot Mountain last month.  We’ve been there so many times, but when scattered family gathers for Thanksgiving, you’ve got to do something together. 

It’s a good thing my bride, Elizabeth (their grandmother) never saw the picture being taken.  The sight of four of her grandkids scaling mountain walls might have stopped her pacemaker.  (OK, she doesn’t have a pacemaker, but you get the unsettling reference).

Looking at the picture recently made me think of King David’s “mountain experiences”.  He hid in caves, hills, behind cliffs and anywhere he could to avoid being detected by the king’s army chasing him.  David was a hunted man; this was no time for a walk in Pilot Mountain’s park.  King Saul wanted David’s head; he could not stop to enjoy the scenery.

When David later wrote this psalm, the idea of mountains and safe crags in the rock were indelible pictures his mind recalled as he hid and was guided by God’s hand.

There is a life-parallel here:  David climbed physical cliffs and hid in dark, damp and smelly caves; there are a lot of spiritual places like that. 

The days we would color a “depressive blue” are like cave-dwelling.  This time of year, with its bare trees, bleak gray skies and impending winter sometimes brings a cold rock kind of melancholy.  (Especially when older bones start to groan and creak!). 

So why did David recall his cave-dwelling, mountain-hiding days so fondly?

He didn’t! 

But he did remember that, despite the fear and furious pursuit the king unleashed towards David, the hiding place of God – dark, smelly and dangerous as it looks to a grandmother worried about her grandkids – in reality was a haven of protection.

At the risk of offending those who hold to the theory that God won’t put anything more on you than you can handle – sometimes there is more than you can handle…and God is the one who made sure you had to face it!  It’s a mountain, or a king chasing you, or a spouse that leaves, or a bill that will break your bank.  It may be the doctor’s report or something that goes “bump in the night”.  But God is right there, seeing to it that you can’t get to the left or right of it; you can’t go over or under…you’ve got to look it right in the eyes and deal with it!  And it’s more than you can bear!

And that’s the whole point.

There are some things, like “death” for instance, that you cannot bear or handle, or even understand

And because of that you don’t need a poor theology that says you can DO it; you need God’s hand guiding, protecting, leading and healing, because you CAN’T do it.

It’s called faith.  It’s like a cliff, dangerous and scary; but it’s how God’s children walk. 

For you, today

Got your day planned?  Got your resources in place?  All going well today?

Well…good; just don’t let all that lead – let faith in God light your path.

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