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In The Cleft (part 3)

I’ve been meditating a lot in these last few weeks about the power of God. As people have so graciously been checking on me and my family through this extremely hard path with our ill daughter, I’ve found myself feeling slightly set apart. Or maybe a step back? It’s an odd sensation to describe exactly- like I’m ‘present’ but not fully ‘here’.

If I didn’t know better I’d say it was like walking in a fog. Slightly numbed to everything. Not drugged, but a feeling of being away. I’m coming to realize that’s it more than that- clearer in some ways certainly, but most definitely slightly separated from reality.

The Lord has sent me oodles of encouragement through His word and various people and situations these dark days and one word a friend shared that has stuck with me is when Moses spent intimate time with Yahweh on Mt. Sinai.

Here’s a few snippets about his multiple encounters-

“And the glory of the Lord settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from inside the cloud.

Then Moses disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain. He remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭24:16, 18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.” The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:18-23‬

Now I’m not going to try in any way to make parallels between myself and our situation with Moses’ encounter with God. Rather I’ve latched on to this idea of God, in His great mercy, hiding us in the cleft of a rock… or  perhaps shrouding Himself in a cloud- in His goodness to protect us from the glory He’s about to exhibit. Whether, like Moses, we’ve asked to see Him or He’s decided to let us peek behind His veil a bit and be partakers in His glory, either way, He knows we can’t handle it. In our mere flesh we simply cannot fathom or even survive His glory.

So we are placed within a cloud. We are put in the cleft so that we may witness His glory and not die. Now I know that His physical glory has not passed in front of me- but let me tell you sisters, His GLORY… His miraculous presence has most certainly been in front of me these past weeks.

And it is too marvelous to comprehend.

It is too confounding to compute.

He is too astounding to stand in front of.

I have heard of such states of mind and heart from others going through intense seasons. It never occurred to me until our own current season how incredibly close in actual proximity God can get to His beloved. We all know that He promises to never leave or forsake us, that He walks side-by-side with us each step of the way… but I don’t know that I took that to mean anything other than pure metaphor. I know His Spirit is always with and within… but He Himself? I guess I just never thought of Old Testament encounters like that happening to me.

And yet, I think in some cases He still comes down to walk with us, especially during hard times. After all, it is so often during these days that Yahweh does His best work… His greatest miracles… the most astounding evidence of His Presence.

How could we not be utterly changed? How could we not be struck by His physicality? How can we possibly live to tell His tale? He is so NEAR us during these times. But what if? What if He hid us a bit? What if He knows our frailty and places us slightly apart? What if, on these paths of fear, valleys of tears, mountains of utter despair… what if He pulls us into His cloud to better bear His presence within the turmoil?

What a thought!

So in His great mercy we may view His workings from the cleft. Within the divine fog we witness the miraculous.

We sang in church this last Sunday a song called ‘Defender’. There is a poignant verse that reminded me of Gods great mercy to me- so much that He would shelter me when He’s about to show off.

“You know before I do
Where my heart can seek to find Your truth
Your mercy is the shade I’m living in
You restore my faith and hope again

All I did was praise
All I did was worship
All I did was bow down
All I did was stay still” (Rita Springer)

Your mercy is the shade I’m living in.

So I gratefully resign myself within the dark cleft of your rock as Your glory, Your miracle, YourSelf passes through my life a bit closer than usual. I will celebrate and be still within the cloud. I will pier out from safety, in utter peace, as my Savior passes by. And I will bow in awe at His glory.

God continues to remind me gently that all of this… all if it- the medical component, the family and emotional issues, the financial situations… all are His.

I go through hours of worry and finding myself running different scenarios in between times of thorough peace and encouragement. I feel emotionally and mentally exhausted, which makes me fragile. I find myself having minutes of wishing desperately to go ‘back to normal’ where everything felt easy and predictable. But this is not the path we’ve been chosen to walk. There is are moments of mourning that take my breath away and cause tears of unknown emotions- but there are more of simply standing in awe of having a front row seat to watching His work. The sheer proximity can be uncomfortable at times, like sitting too close to a fire, but the wonder of standing in such holy ground is beyond measure.

And so we stand- scorched feet, singed hair, and all- and behold God’s hand in our lives as He ushers us along bit by bit. It’s not what I ever would have chosen but it’s what He has- and that makes it all the better.

00002 3260601196 removebg preview 1 Bethany L Douglas - Author Mother, Flight nurse



One response to “In The Cleft (part 3)”

  1. Sue Avatar

    I can’t think of that experience that Moses had without also going to Song of Solomon 2:13-14. Such a precious invitation. Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come along! O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, and your form is lovely.
    In your steep pathway, He has a secret place for you to join Him

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