The Rock Higher than You

It’s been a hard week. Several disappointments have left me pounded and battered from all sides.

I feel like the small raft I had seen once amid the pounding waves and huge rocks in Bermuda. A heavy wave dashed in against a jutting rock. Once the water receded, the wooden rafter went back. Several gashes marked the roughness of its beatings. Seconds later came another pounding. I wondered if anyone would come and rescue the raft from the unrelenting forces of nature. 

By contrast, the rocks must have been there for centuries. No matter how strong the waves, the rocks never flinched. 

As I watched, the tide increased the power and frequency of the waves. Later, the tide changed and the depleted force of nature slinked away from the shoreline. But the firm rocks never moved. 

As I thought of that scene and felt my own disappointments this week, my mind focused on God our rock. That term appears frequently in the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms. It’s one of those words I usually read and skip over. From the recesses of my mind came the words, “Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” It occurs in Psalms 61:2

As I turned to Psalms 61 and read the entire prayer of eight verses, I realized it’s a prayer for security. I think the psalmist is crying, “Lead me to the rock of safety because it’s too high for me to climb in my own strength.” (The Septuagint, the translation of the Old Testament into Greek, reads: “Set me high on a rock and make me secure.”)

The High Rock began to make sense to me, and I envisioned myself being that little raft and grasping for a hold each time a wave thrust me against the craggy boulders. I’d never get up to safety without someone to help me. 

As I meditated on that image, I thought of Stone Mountain just outside Atlanta. I live about six miles from that giant mile-high monolith of granite that protrudes out of nowhere. I’ve climbed it many times. On the trail, I’ve seen initials and dates carved on the rock, some that go back forty years, now barely readable. But the rock has stood firm for centuries. 

When I thought of God as my High Rock, I prayed, “God, you are my High Rock. You’re the strength I need today. You’re the force that stands no matter how severe the blows I encounter.”

In quiet silence, peace slowly covered me. The problems of the week remained. Within a couple of hours, I’d have to face them again. But I knew I was secure in the Rock that holds me firm. 

This image reminds me of the opening of Psalms 40 “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Ps 40:1-2, NIV). 

It goes on to give the result of that action: “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD” (v. 3).

This morning those images gave me peace. Like the psalmist, I felt ready to tell the world of God’s love that held me secure. I actually felt a joyous song bubbling inside. 

Outwardly, nothing had changed. But inwardly, I was safe. The High Rock had lifted me from the battering waves and brought me to safety.

“I don’t know how any of this is going to work out,” I said to God, “but it doesn’t’ matter as much as it did a little earlier. I’m here with you. That’s what really matters. You’re my High, Solid Rock.”

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. —PSALMS 62:1, NIV

  I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. —PSALMS 62:1-3, NKJV

 Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You. When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.  —PSALMS 62:1-3, NKJV

My High Rock,
the forces of life push against me.
I hurt. I feel desolate and alone.
Then I remember. You are the High Rock.
Help me, because I’m too weak and discouraged
to help myself.
And because you are my High Rock,
 I know you’re going to lift me up. Amen.

Cecil Murphey

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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