I am not a thin man. I tell you that because my roundness created a challenge for me on Monday. I went to the Post Office, parked the car, and was about to get out when a teenage driver pulled in right next to me. This driver parked so close to me that the tires were on the white line, creating a space of just inches between my car and hers. I almost regretted my next decision. Even though the space between our cars was extremely narrow, I felt like I was up to the challenge to open the door and exit my car! I have, in fact, been through “fat man’s squeeze” at Rock City in Chattanooga, so I felt like I could do this!
As I exited the car, I immediately got stuck between my door and the side panel. This was about to be a most embarrassing situation! So, I breathed in deeply and did my best to “slim up” my midsection and, well, “squeeze” myself out of that crevice. The Lord responded to my prayer to get me out of this tight spot and enabled me to become lean enough to escape into the openness of the parking lot! My first words after getting unstuck were, “Thank you, Lord!” My second thought was, “I hope no one is filming this to put on YouTube!”
A song came to me as I entered the Post Office. It was a hymn I sang on Sundays while growing up at Hardwick Christian Church.
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 covers me there with his hand
I was in a tight spot, also known as a cleft, a narrow space. That’s what happened to Moses when he asked to see the glory of God. God’s response was,
20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 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. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”– Exodus 23:20-23
Many are like Moses. They want to see God.
“Show me a sign.”
“Do something miraculous.”
“Show up, God, in a way that I will know for sure that you are there.”
Thomas was that way, too. He wanted to see the risen Christ for himself. In fact, Jesus did appear before Thomas and his doubt was turned to faith. But, Jesus had generations of believers on his mind when he said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
Just like many of us, Moses and Thomas wanted more. We may not want to see God personally, but we want to see God working. We must be people of faith and KNOW that God is present and God is working actively in every situation until He brings us home.
In the tight spots of life, God is still working.
When you feel stuck, God is still working.
When you feel trapped, God is still working.
When someone wrongs you, God is still working.
I can assure those of you in Christ that one day you will SEE God. One day our faith WILL be made sight. In the meantime, he hides us in the cleft of the rock. His glory is too great for us to behold now. In the tight places of life that we call “between a rock and hard place,” he is very much there, even though he often chooses not to reveal himself.
And so, as I wrap this up, let's go back to the hymn I was reminded of last Monday. The words were written by the great blind poet, Fanny Crosby. This woman of great faith, who wrote so many of the words to our hymns, lived her 94 years completely blind. She could not see the things we see. She could not see the glory of God’s creation. She could not see the smile of a child. She could not see the glimmer in someone’s eyes. Yet, her faith was such, that she believed that one day she would indeed see. So, she concluded her hymn, “He Hideth My Soul” this way:
When clothed in his brightness, transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love
I’ll shout with the millions on high.
Praise God! He is with me in every tight spot in life. He is always at work. He is preparing a home for me even now. His perfect salvation and His wonderful love will one day be seen in all it’s glory by all of us who know Him. And, then, we will all gladly shout with the millions on high!