In His Word 8-2-10

For the past two weeks I have been pushing myself further than I thought I could possibly go. Aside from the sore muscles from hiking a mountain top at 8900 feet, sleeping on an air mattress that went flat overnight, and swimming in a mountain lake, not to mention the worship and games of a Vacation Bible School, I feel pretty good! I feel refreshed and renewed in my spirit and full of things to write about God’s wonderful goodness and provision.
"So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by." Exodus 33:22
This scripture is what I was reminded of while climbing the rocky cliffs of Mt. Lassen this weekend. We hiked up a narrow path that, if you tripped and fell, you would fall to either extreme pain or death. There were no railings to hold on to, nothing to hold you back if you should fall. You just walked along beside a wall of rockiness and air. Every so often as we walked, I would catch my foot on a small stone and stumbled a little. At one point one of the teens with us thought I was going to fall for sure. She gasped and could not understand when I began laughing. You see, just before I tripped I had been talking about going back down the path to the bottom instead of continuing up the hill. There was no fear in the climb to me, which surprised even me, as normally I am afraid of such places. This is mostly because it is a well known fact that I am a klutz. Still, I gave very little thought to falling. I just thought about the fact it was going to be a long, hard hike back after we reached our destination.

As we hiked the path worn into the mountain by millions of visitors to the park, we met up with travelers from around the world. Russians, Chinese, and Indians were on the list of people we were at liberty to speak with. All of these people on the same path trying to get to the same location. This reminded me of our Christian walk. We continue on with the Rock on one side of us and unknown danger on the other. The path is rather narrow and we have to stay on it or meet with that danger. A few times people slipped and fell in ice or mud, and some turned back because it was just too difficult of a climb.

As we reached the summit of our hike, there was a marker and a beautiful view. I could have so easily stopped there. I really thought we had reached our destination because it was so beautiful. God’s creation was spread out before us for all to see. Mountain upon mountain, as far as you could see. It was truly glorious! To think that God created all that over and over so many times around the world astounded me. It was breathtaking. And as I said, I could have stayed there and rested. I chose to continue on. I hiked over the top to the other side - down the hills, up the crags and between rocks and snow. There were times I needed to rest as the air is a bit thinner up there. When I needed to rest I always found a rock to support my weary body. I would sit amongst other travelers and share experiences and stories. Then we would, each in his own time, continue on our journey.

As Christians, we walk along the narrow road expecting to find the destination of heaven at the end of our journey. We know that our God is with us when we are weary and find He is there to support us. We don’t always realize that He really is with us until we need that support, but He truly is there all along.

At one point there was a tight road and it was slick with slush of snow that was melting. I reached out to the rocks at the side in order not to fall or slip in the mush. I made it to the other end safely because I kept my hold on the rock. In our lives we are full up with slush and slime as we walk each day. Sometimes we need to reach out and hold on to the Rock, Jesus, to keep us on the path. Other times we just want to touch the Rock for support, to keep us upright as we travel on.

For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me. Psalm 31:3
In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Psalm 62:7
As I continued on the path, I would cry out to God from time to time to, "Help me make it," and to continue beyond where I thought I could go. As I walked, slipped, rested and walked some more, I reached a point that I was ready to rest. I did not finish the walk because I was walking on an injured knee that slowed my progress. I did make it within about 50 feet of the bottom. By this time the rest or my group was there taking pictures and waving to me. I took some photos and enjoyed what I saw. It did not matter if I made it to the bottom of the volcano, because I had gone beyond what I thought I could do, and God was with me.

When we step out with the Lord to achieve a goal, we need to stay on the path, cling to the Rock, and know when to quit. Know when it is time to head back to the place of rest. We need to know when to grab on and use Jesus to support us and help us through rough spots and slippery slopes.

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to cling to You, our Rock, as we hike through our daily lives. Help us not to fall on the slippery slopes or wallow in the muck and slime. Continue to support us as the rocky climb makes us weary and guide us through the worn path to the place of rest. In Jesus' name, amen.

Suggested reading: Psalm 62:1-12, Luke 6:1-49, 1 Peter 2:1-25, 1 Corinthians 10:1-33