When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
When. It leaves no possibility for non occurrence. “If” finds no place in the inevitable realm of an overwhelmed, mortal heart.
David the king, perhaps in a rare moment of solitude, fondly picks up his kinnor and leans against the cedar planked wall of his royal home. He closes his eyes, washing away the faces of enemies contorted in hate and begins to strum. “Hear my cry, oh God!” The clear voice of the sweet psalmist of Israel soars to the ceiling, then penetrates the throne room of God. “Attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee.”
A man of deep emotion, the tears must have gently trickled down his cheeks, losing themselves in his beard.
“When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I….”
This was his sole recourse. His very human heart was overwhelmed again and again. There were rebellious children, angry foreign powers. Traitors and sin and sorrow. Such was his emotional devastation he pleads with God, “ lead me to the Rock!”
David, in our words, was done. His heart was so wrung, so inundated, so completely shattered, he needed God to bring him to God.
It is a dark place to be.
Perhaps David, his fingers on those strings, suddenly recalled his days as a shepherd on those mountain slopes outside Bethlehem. A storm rolling in, leading his helpless, frightened flock up out of the danger of flash floods and exposure, up under an overhanging cliff of shelter. Shelter, warmth, protection.
Finding himself now the wearied lamb, David runs to the Shepherd of his soul. God does not laugh as he does to the wicked. He does not hold David in derision. He instead crooks his staff around the shivering body and draws him in. He carries His child to the Rock of peace and protection.
From that high place, sheltered under the Rock, David looks down across the valley of difficulty.
He lifts his voice in praise to his faithful God.
“For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations.
He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.”
I actually wrote all that many months ago, obviously to carry me through some other difficult but now forgotten day. As we drive towards Mexico City to see a hip dysplasia specialist, these old words came filtering back through the oppressing fog of worry and doubt.
We’ve had a hard couple weeks emotionally, discovering our second oldest has vitiligo and that the corrections gained with Galilea using a Pavlik harness have been lost. Lifelong skin damage and a spica cast for three months on a baby wanting to walk have loomed like laughing, invincible satyrs, daring me to just try and overcome them.
Lead me, oh God, to the Rock that is so much higher than I, the Rock that towers over autoimmune disease and skeletal malformations, the eternal shelter for our wearied souls.