A Hand and a Whisper
Last week we ended with a challenge to open our eyes to the areas that God may be inviting us to rest. You will recall that this whole focus on rest began when my doctor put me on modified bed rest or “couch potato” as she called it.
I am reminded of two stories from the Old Testament that always bring a sense of peace and entice me to rest in the presence of the Almighty. The first one is found in Exodus 33:12-23. Moses is having a conversation with God about how he will know that God is pleased with him, how he can be certain that he and the people of Israel are set apart. The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” As if this was not enough, a few verses later the Lord goes on to say, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
Just put yourself in this place. The glory of the Lord passed by and Moses was covered in the cleft of the rock. It as if time slowed as God, GOD, passed by. We may not physically see God in this way but we have his Spirit living inside of us. We are literally in the Lord’s presence at all times.
Another one of my favorite stories of experiencing the serenity of God is in I Kings 19:9-13. Elijah was sharing with God that he felt alone and feared for his life. God answered with this act: his presence passed by Elijah. “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him…”
God was in the whisper. He sometimes will mount the clouds and ride to our rescue (Psalm 18). But other times he speaks with a still, soft voice. Just rest.
As I continue on my relatively short journey of bed rest I will hold on to the truths from these accounts. The glory of God brings rest. He can appear any way he chooses, and yet to Moses he gently passed by, covering him with his hand. To Elijah he appeared in a whisper. And sometimes we need to stop, turn off the noise, and shut down the running around long enough to experience the stillness of God.
Rest. It’s just what the doctor ordered. And it may be the very thing I needed to hear the still, gentle, hushed voice of the Lord.
He hides my soul in the cleft of the rock.