“Hear my cry O God, listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” Psalm 61v1-2
Yesterday I heard an anecdote about obedience. ‘God told a man to push against a large rock. He leant on it and pushed and pushed. After a while he stopped, disappointed that it hadn’t moved a millimetre. But God said to him, “I didn’t tell you to move it… I just told you to push it”‘.
Our expectations and assumptions can sometimes be our worst enemy! “If I do this, this will happen – a plus b must equal c”. As Richard Rohr says, we can easily project our own desires onto God, rather than having our faith formed by His revelation (see The bee in my bonnet) It then leads to discouragement, disillusionment, even despair… But if God didn’t say it, it is our own fault when we extrapolate! He is not a vending machine! His ways are not our ways and He knows what He is doing. Hmmm – we don’t always like that. It hurts, Lord!
The mass in Sam’s brain is this sort of immovable object: it sits there and refuses to budge. It is very frustrating. Why can’t God ‘wave His magic wand’ and just make it shrink, as we have all been praying? Why can’t He at least use the drugs and diet to make it disappear gradually? Well… maybe He will. Maybe its just a matter of more time. Nothing is too hard for the Lord! What is impossible with men is possible with God. We keep praying for His mercy and healing…
Meanwhile, its as if the irresistible force has met the immovable object! It sits there on the MRI scan and looks at us. It may have been growing there for 10-15 years as a low grade tumour (which cannot be treated anyway) before the more aggressive grade 3 cells developed. Perhaps just keeping the grade 3 cells at bay is all we need to happen – for however long. Nothing bad has happened.
I have been thinking about Moses meeting the rock in the wilderness (Exodus 17). It was just sitting there on the dusty ground at Horeb, but when he struck it… water flowed out! It was a completely supernatural event – that wouldn’t have happened without his obedience. Out of the dryness of the desert God brought refreshment: a wonderful prophetic picture of the way He is able to do the impossible and turn everything round in utterly unexpected ways. He is able to meet our needs when we can see no way through, working every situation for good. He loves to do it this way, because He is the only one who gets the credit! And this is our testimony: so much good has come out of this situation as we have found new grace as a family and gone deeper in our experience of God’s love (see The Man in Black). Isn’t it interesting too, that when Moses met a rock later on at Kadesh, the Lord told him to speak to it – but he hit it like before and ended up losing his passage into Canaan (Numbers 20). Why, Moses? Was it anger and frustration with the people that carried him away? Didn’t he listen to God carefully enough? The Lord said he had dishonoured Him: I don’t want to dishonour the Lord by disobedience or pride, thinking I know best, disregarding the way He wants to do things…
Moses met another rock, on the top of Sinai. It was the one with the cleft in it where God hid him as He passed by (Exodus 33-34). This rock speaks to us of a hiding place in His presence – yes, immovable – strong and safe. “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock” Ex 33v21. I love that. “For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me…” Psalm 27v5-6
May the Lord use the immovable rocks in our lives to work miracles and show us His victory – as we trust and obey!