Friday, April 18, 2014

Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I...

We sat in safari chairs under acacia trees at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro as he read,  

"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.

Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!" 

... and we laughed together over the clarity and consistency of our Abba.

I've been silent for long now. Not because of anything ominous; no struggling with words or life or living. Just doing more listening than typing... listening is good.
Too many use words too carelessly.
Too many think their words are more important than they actually are.
Too many have wounded with careless words.
My dear Uncle Harold passed away recently, he's resting now, finally HOME. I've thought, what words would He share now if he could? We can be sure he would waste no words, they would all be rich.

As my Steve and i sat reading our morning devotions together, we were guided to the scripture above found in Psalm 61 verses 1-4. Most every morning, together, we read a devotion, a chapter from a book we are studying, some scripture, etc. It helps us begin the day ---- well. Sarah Young's devotional "Jesus Calling" is a favorite of ours. We know our sons and our daughter will also read it each day -- it's a special connection we have with them... no matter where we open our eyes. With April 15ths devotional, Mrs. Young shared words from Psalm 61. "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I". 
Sitting at the base of the tallest mountain in Africa (and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world) imagine how intimately near we felt God's presence as we read the words from a devotion she had penned for millions. But for us, it was deeply moving as we sat watching the sunrise on Kilimanjaro.
"Lead me to the rock that is higher than I". 

He made that great mountain.
He didn't have to share it with us.
But He chose to... and in those moments we felt His goodness and power and love and prescence.
Kilimanjaro sat in front of us. His Words lay in our hands. We laughed like kids playing on a playground before us.

To sit at the base of Kilimanjaro is to be reminded of ones tininess. 
Like ants at a picnic. 
Like goby fish in the ocean. 
... it's wise to remember just how small we are.
Takes the load off our shoulders of thinking there's much we could actually do.

But when the Maker of the mountain, the picnic Provider, the One who fills the ocean --- when HE touches our tininess... therein lies the difference. 

It's life-changing and jerk-the-rug-from-under-my-feet humbling! If the One who makes the great mountains touches us ------ everything changes.
On my best day living, i'm still tiny.
If i could combine everyone of my BEST days out of a whole lifetime and pack them into one good solid hour ---- that one hour would be worthless still if the Maker of the hour didn't touch the minutes. 
Conversely, we could take all my most rotten moments and pack them into one grueling hour and it would be a 3600 second nightmare. But... let Abba touch it... and what had seemed horrible without Him would be used for good in His hands and eternal differences would flow.

I recently read a short blog written by an lady i am distantly acquainted with. Of all she wrote in her blog, one sentence walked away with me. She said, "I'm not one to over-spiritualize everything..." And i knew there was something for me to learn because her words sat side-ways inside me. I'd never thought about "over-spiritualizing" anything. That alone shows you my ignorance.  But i was intrigued by the unhealthiness or healthiness (depending on your personal view) of over-spiritualization. So i read more... and pondered it. 

Over-spiritualizing means we apply scriptural interpretation that exceeds its intended meaning or we over-compensate an event or action with implications that God orchestrated it in our lives.
The more i read, the more i realized i needed to sit quietly asking God to teach me His will on this controversial matter of over-spiritualizing.

Here's my "kindergarten level" view ...
----when i was a young believer (which in some ways feels like just last year - even though i've been His girl for 40 years now), i did not "see" God in anything --- except on Sunday morning when we "met with Him" at church. I wasn't looking for Him anywhere else. My little girl thinking was, He had His place and He lived there...
----when i grew a bit older, i began to see God as the ONLY real Truth. I wanted more of Him in my life because of what i saw in the world. I grew in the knowing that I needed a Savior near. Not just on Sunday, not just for a holy-high now and then. I wanted a Good Shepherd everyday in the field with me.
----when i gave birth to children i knew God had to help me. He simply had to move in my life or i would ruin theirs. Period. I knew i needed more of God and less of me, i knew THEY needed more of God's goodness and less of my flailing attempts at goodness. 
----when i grew still older i grew deeper in my desire for more of Him and less of me. I'd lived long enough with myself and i'd tasted enough of Him --- that i knew... i knew... His ways worked. I'd try hard (on my own) and end up hurting everyone around me. Then, usually in desperation I'd surrender to God and just do what He said to do ----- and good flowed. Those good things were defined and produced by Him, not me.
So the more i learned of God, the more i wanted His ways. The more i read His Word, the more i looked for Him around me, in me, with me.  I never once thought of it as over-spiritualizing. I still don't. God IS in the world around me. I don't want to miss it, overlook it, ignore it, or let other things block my view. It's where i am today. Wanting more of God around me "His kingdom come... His will be done..."

"Lead me to the rock that is higher than I" ---- it means i don't want to stumble around on the little rocks. I want to climb higher on the Rock --- the one that saves me from the predator-filled fields below. From the Rock i can see farther, and have a better birds-eye-view of the world around me. 
from the Rock ---- i won't over-spiritualize --- foolishly saying, "Ah, see that cheetah has killed a gazelle and therefore I believe God is saying... blah... blah... blah." As though, there were some deep spiritual meaning in the fact that instinctively cheetahs eat gazelles. 

Each event is not to become a force-feeding of the divine.

It troubled me deeply to think of over-spiritualizing life around me. So i sat with God and asked for help.
Then as i prayed through the matter, what began to trouble me much more, was the thought of missing God in the millions of gifts He gives. Imagine standing before Him someday (we all will before we step into eternity), and having no awareness of the endless daily gifts He had offered. All the whispered goodnesses, all the tender treasures.... missed. To realize all those God-moments had been overlooked and consequently all the THANK YOUs were never spoken. Makes me shiver at the thought.

So, i've firmly decided, may i be found in the clan of kids always looking for the movements (the real movements) of my Daddy-God!  And may i be drawn to them ---- not frightened by them. May i scoot my chair closer --- not shrink back. May i shrug off the negative glances from those "too cool" to humbly seek and see His face. May i be the tiny goby fish that swims with abandonment in my Father's ocean and thank Him, thank Him, thank Him at every gulp of His goodness.

Elephants roam about in the low-lands all day, but when night approaches, they head for higher ground.
Giraffes do the same.
Elephants are the strongest ----- giraffes are the tallest.
But they know neither their strength nor their sight will keep them safe from harm.

Our refuge is found on higher ground. Our safe hiding place is found above the low-lands.
We have a Father who not only made the "Rock" but is also willing to lead us to it.
He WILL lead us to the high place, where we can dwell in His tent and rest under His wing.
But we've got to be willing to listen, watch, see Him and obey.

No overspiritualing allowed ------- but seeing Him in all His daily gifts ---- yes, i'll have a double portion of that please.

...and at the end of my days, if the words are spoken over me, "she just talked about God too much...", then i'll just have to grin... and bear it... all the way HOME. :)

©2014 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe

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