In the Cleft of the Rock

by Barbara Ann Oliver

He was lost. The desert stretched before him, endless, dry, forbidding. He wiped the dust from his forehead. His sweat evaporated immediately, leaving only dry salt that irritated his face.

He saw it coming. The wall of sand raced toward him. He ran. Fear surged through him. No cover offered protection, only a few large rock formations sticking up from the desert floor like giant stalagmites. The storm was gaining on him. He felt the sand bullets striking the nape of his neck. He sprinted toward an outcropping of stone. His eyes stung from the whirling sand. He scoured the rock with his hands, searching for a place to hide from the storm that now enveloped him. He found a small cleft, just large enough to squeeze into. He pulled his jacket up over his head and lay protected from the stormy blast.

How often do we feel pelleted by worry, pain, disease, and death? How we long to find that cleft of rock! What joy to know that we have that protection! Fanny Crosby said it well in her song, “A Wonderful Savior:”

“He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
that shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
and covers me there with His hand.”

And as God is inclined to do, he heaps the blessings on us.

He gives us friends. We all have that one special brother or sister in Christ to whom we can take any problem, any hurt, any joy, and know that, even though our words may not come out right, he’ll understand our heart’s intent. If you don’t have such a friend, be one! “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (Proverbs 18:24, NKJV).

He gives us an earthly family. I love my church family here in Winona. Not a large congregation, we are only about seventy souls. They are such a loving church, helping each other during difficult times, enjoying each other during good times. They are a cleft in the rock for me. I know that during times of crisis, those brothers and sisters will be there for me. I have no doubt!

He gives us a heavenly family. Angels watch over us (Matthew 18:10; Luke 16:12), the Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26,27), our Brother lived and died for us and bore the separation from God for us. We have a Father who gave his most precious Son for us.

Surely, he hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, and covers me there with his hand!

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