Friday, June 13, 2008

Needing the Rock Today

So often I am made aware that I need a rock. I don’t know why I am still so thrown for a loop when I discover how unpredictable life is . . . and unpredictably hard. Big trials and little stresses are so common that they are . . . well . . . predictable, and yet they still catch me unaware. All of us live on a rough sea of raging waves. I am seasick, and I need a rock.

Rock of Ages cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Let the waters and the blood
From Thy wounded side which flowed
Be for sin a double cure
Save from wrath and make me pure.

The thought of hiding in the crevice of a rock is warming to me—the security it affords is what my heart craves. Unlike a ship, caught unexpectedly on a wild sea in a storm, my raging sea is one of my own making. Daily . . . hourly, I am reminded of my duplicitous heart, driven by pride and selfishness. I am capable of every evil known to man. Even on my worst day, if I try I can feel God’s restraining power preventing me from being the worst I could be. I deserve judgment and death. I am ever conscious that I have no merit with which to enter His presence. And then . . . I remember the blood which washed me clean. I remember the righteous acts of Christ that were credited to me. I recall the continued cleansing of the water of the Holy Spirit. Justified and being sanctified. I can enter the presence of the Most High God.

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy laws demands
Could my zeal no respite know
Could my tears forever flow
All for sin could not atone
Thou must save, and Thou alone

Nothing. That is what I have to offer God which He needs. I watched the shock wash over the faces of some ladies in a Sunday School class when the lecturer on the CD reminded us that God really doesn’t need us for anything. We like to think He does. But the truth is, my work couldn’t save me. How could it possibly be required by Him to build a kingdom? There is also no catalyst that makes that work more effective so that it will be effective enough to save me or serve Him. I am aware often that I am unable to be pure in my motives, but even if I could be zealous enough in my devotion to God, it wouldn’t be enough. Neither could penitence make my works more acceptable to Him. Yet He longs for me to be a part of His work. So He saves. He saves me. I was dead and rotting . . . . He gave me life and made me useful.

Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to Thy cross I cling
Naked come to Thee for dress
Helpless look to Thee for grace
Foul I to the fountain fly
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

Finally I realize it . . . again and again. I’ve tried to earn it again. I’ve tried to pay Him back. I’ve tried to prove my worthiness to Him. And I’ve failed . . . again and again. There I stand again, just like I did the day He saved me the first time, with nothing to offer. I grab hold of the Gospel, and for a moment cling with all my might. I watch for just a second as He again puts beautiful garments on me. For one minute, I am aware of my weakness—of my labored breathing, the fatigue of my spiritual muscles, the distraction of my mind, the fickleness of my affections. In that moment, I look to Him for help. And suddenly, His glory is blinding to me. And I glimpse others beholding it because He is using me, His weak and frail vessel, His lifeless tool now animated.

While I draw this fleeting breath
When my eyes shall close in death
When I soar to worlds unknown
See Thee on Thy judgment throne
Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee.

Today I hide . . . again. Not out of hopelessness or self-loathing. I hide because the rock is safer and more predictable than the sea. Out there, I work and work, yet if I get anywhere I can’t even see my progress. Here I cannot see progress either, but I can see Him. And I know He isn’t going anywhere. I am safe. I can rest.

1 comment:

Liz said...

There you go again saying it better than I ever could. I thank God for giving you the gift of words!