The Cleft of the Rock©

The email came through offering an annual report of the life of this blog in 2012.  I knew there wouldn’t be much to see but what I saw revealed more than I realized.   Over 3,100 visits here and I wrote seven times in 2012….. seven times.  In years past the norm for me was writing two maybe three times a week minimum.  The thing is, this “tell all” not only reveals the summary of this blog but aptly portrays the days that have made up my year.

Silence has filled the walls of this place as it has filled the walls of my life.   It has been dark and lonely, the longest winter of my soul. Discouragement has been a frequent visitor.  God has not seemed near.  How could God be at work here?

Is this what it was like in those dark days of silence between the old and new when for 400 years God remained quiet?  What went through the minds of those who waited for Him to show up?  I look to see their story intertwined with mine.  Did they too wonder if He had dropped off the face of the earth?  Surely they wrestled through tears and gnawing of teeth to just put one foot in front of the other.  Surely they felt the disappointments of His absence.  Did they want to throw in the towel?  Were tears frequent visitors; the aches deep and profound; the unanswered questions intensely discouraging.  I want to think they did, for this has been my story on this rough terrain of my journey.

The end of the year left me contemplating the marathon runner.  It was God’s invitation to see beyond my realm of this year into His.

The testing of your faith produces endurance scripture says.  “Strong’s” translates it like this; “characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose or loyalty to faith by even the greatest trials and struggles.”  “Websters” says it’s the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially :the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.

Endurance has its perfect work James tells us.   For when your endurance is tested, your faith has a chance to grow.  Is this what growing pains feel like I wonder?

It has been the darkest hour of the darkest night.  I have waited for the dawn to arrive.  The silence has been oppressive making it more difficult.  I have begged Him to let me hear Him….feel Him… and though He has not;  I could not stop believing.  I could not give up on this God I’ve given my heart to.  Did endurance have its perfect work I wondered?

Four hundred years of silence were broken with one statement.  From the depths of the earth the shout went out;”for unto you is born this day a child.”  The glory of the Lord came near as dawn arrived to the darkness of a cold, dark stable, bringing light to the earth’s longing.

Sometimes it is the way of God in our lives.  The glory of God passes in the dark silence of the cleft of the rock.

Moses begged God to allow His glory to pass before Him.  It wasn’t with fanfare and bright lights.  It was in the darkness of the fracture of the rock that God passed before Him. He was allowed only to see His back once He had passed.

Could it be that this darkness has been the hand of God covering me and protecting me with His hand as He passes by?  Could the tremors of upheaval that have swept through my world be the very place where God has shakened what must be shakened to leave only that which is lasting to remain?  After all things that once impeded me lay strewn along the path, no longer needed.

Never have I felt more abandoned.  In spite of it all, something has carried me still, something that didn’t require anything from me, for I couldn’t.  Words escaped me and disciplines could not be mustered up any longer.

As dawn breaks in this new year things are becoming more clear.  Could that be the back of God I see?  Endurance will have its perfect work as that which encumbers us falls away.

The dark clefts of the rock where all seems lost and God seems silent, is the place where glory falls.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”           The Message

©copyrighted 2013; Julie L. Todd
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10 thoughts on “The Cleft of the Rock©

  1. Jewel, this was beautiful. I love the part where you said, “something has carried me still, something that didn’t require anything from me.” To me this said, Someone has carried me still, someone that didn’t require anything from me – grace. I also loved, “The dark clefts of the rock where all seems lost and God seems silent, is the place where glory falls.” I see that glory falling and I am so thankful to be a witness. I love you, Mom

  2. I know this silent place well and the experience of being carried as we continue to live in Latvia obeying His call to “Go, wait, listen and encourage.” In almost 4 years we have lived in 3 places finding His grace sufficient without the tool of language. He is doing a work in us and it continues. Though He slay me, yet will I serve Him. Hold fast the best is yet to come.

    • I love that verse, once heard it spoken via a testimony by a woman who went to New Guinea.. was captured by the Japanese during the war and lived to tell the stories. She spoke that verse and it settled somewhere deep. I have thought of it often.. Thank you for your presence here and your dear words of your own journey! I am blessed!

  3. I resonated so much with what you shared here about being in those times where all seems silent! I was really touched by how you said the darkness might be the hand of God shielding you from terrible things – for from HIS side, His love and plan are so obvious and apparent, even when they aren’t apparent on our side, right? I struggle with not ‘feeling’ His presence and begin to beat myself up about it, thinking I am to blame. Then on comes the guilt for not being a better Christian, etc, and I start to forget grace.

    But what you write here about being carried along by something that required nothing of you – wow, what a word from God to me today! That nothing is required of me. That He will carry me along and bring me safely through. That I may fall, but I’ll still be in His hands always. so it’s a short fall, landing on the palm of His hand every time, while still He holds onto me and carries me. Knowing nothing is required of me makes me relax and feel grace again, because grace means it’s all up to Him, right? Already done. So there is rest as He works out the details in my cirucumstances.

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart! I think when people share out of their lean times, people can relate more and even gain more insight than when we are so ‘up’ and happy. I guess that is because we’ve all been through those lean times. So thank you for sharing! You are a beautiful Christian and beautiful writer. I lifted you up before His heart today, and I know He will answer my prayer for your times of refreshing and joy to come, as you are already starting to see!

    • My dear friend, Kellie… I remember all those years back when you spoke to me about writing. You have believed in me since then. Thank you for your comment here the other day encouraging me once again in what your eyes could see that mine could not! I’m grateful, so very grateful! Love you!

  4. Dear Jewel,

    I follow your posts with diligence….whatever you seem to go through, I go through but in a different way. Your writing above has touched me yet again, in deep places that only God can touch and reveal. The lines, “something has carried me still, something that didn’t require anything from me.” I have struggled with this, because I am at that place now, and thought it was a failure on my part….as you said, the disciplines all went to pot….and yet I find myself still loving God with all my heart. He is my Absolute, my Constant…..I could live with out various people in my life (painfully), but I cannot live without God.

    I have been on this journey for 5 and 1/2 years now, trying to make sense of what is happening, as I said, your writing always helps me through, gives me encouragement, when I need it the most.

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us, and your journey.
    Please be encouraged, that others are encouraged also.
    God’s love and blessings from my heart to your heart,

    Maureen:)

    • Maureen, I am at a loss for words. That God would allow my mess to encourage another leaves me undone.

      You have not failed, my dear friend. This I know for certain though I understand your belief that you have. This place of doing nothing has been so foreign to this full steam ahead former striver. To sit, to do nothing how could that not be rebellion or laziness? Yet on the other side of this I am seeing that this relationship with Him is absolutely not based on what I do or don’t do. It’s the wooing of His heart towards me that keeps the relationship going, not what I do towards Him. I respond to His initiation. It’s mind boggling for a former Pharisee who was convinced that it was all up to what I did and didn’t do to keep the flame burning. HE is the flame…

      Thank you for coming here. Thank you for leaving these words. You have encouraged me in tremendous ways. It’s easy for me to feel like this little blog is pointless.. this desire for writing ridiculous. I found myself once I had finished this post feeling like it must be so boring.. and here you are telling me it’s not.

      Bless you for your words of affirmation!

      Thank you, just thank you!

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