It’s like trying to dance with a rock in your shoe. That was the analogy that came to me when I considered my problem. It’s the phenomenon in which everything in your whole life is incredibly lovely and blessed…except for this ONE thing. And that is the thing that the devil uses to bring waves of frustration, discontentment, and general angst. I mentioned it to one of my best friends after church this week because she literally described the exact same thing as happening to her. In her case, though, that discontentment turned to bitterness which she was just now coming out of with the help of the Lord. I said to my friend, “I think I will ask the Lord to give me the solution to this problem as my blog this week.” But before I even had a chance to get home to my prayer closet, He had already spoken to her. Jesus is the rock that is higher than I.
Philippians 4:4 tells us to rejoice in the Lord always. Romans 12:12 tells us to rejoice in hope, and Nehemiah 8:10 says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. God doesn’t appreciate gloomy Christians. Negativity isn’t good for us or for Him. After all, salvation alone should keep us dancing. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice to buy our pardon for sins that should have earned us death. And how can we draw others to Him with a bunch of sighs and groans?
The Blessings of God
Both my friend Cindy and I are blessed. The Lord has saved our souls from the pit of Hell when that is exactly what we deserved. He gave us good homes, clean water, protection from harm, clothing, transportation, and people who love us. He even gave us a great church with brothers and sisters in Christ close by who are there to pray for us and encourage us no matter the day or time. We are blessed.
But my friend has a spine condition that limits her mobility and causes her pain. And the Lord has asked me – a foodie with a sweet tooth — to lay down sugar and pick up a “fasting ministry.” Her situation is severe and debilitating. Mine cuts in a thousand tiny ways as food is everywhere all around me being provided, offered, and partaken of by everyone else. And the only thing between it and me is my determination not to disobey/disappoint the Lord. Both scenarios involve affliction. Cindy is afflicted with a medical condition, and I have been asked to “afflict my soul” with fasting and refraining from foods I enjoy (Isaiah 58:3).So how can we dance with rocks in our shoes? How can we live our lives rejoicing and focusing on the thousands of blessings that overflow in our lives when the devil just keeps pointing at that ONE thing that makes us unhappy? Click To Tweet
The Lord is a Rock
Standing on the rock is a familiar metaphor in the Bible. It’s found throughout scripture with 24 verses about God as a rock in the Book of Psalms alone. Some are even more descriptive:
- My strong rock – Psalm 31:2
- Rock and my salvation – Psalm 62:2, 62:6
- Rock of my strength – Psalm 62:7
- Rock and my fortress – Psalm 71:3
- Rock of my salvation – Psalm 89:26, 95:1
- Rock of my refuge – Psalm 94:22
In the New Testament, Jesus is called a “spiritual Rock” in 1 Corinthians 10:4. This is an allusion to the rock that Moses smote in Exodus 17:5-6 to get water for the thirsty Israelites. In Jewish tradition, it is said that a small piece of that rock followed them throughout their journey. In John 7:38, Jesus reminded the Jews that those who believe in Him would experience fountains of living waters out of their bellies (which John 17:39 says is the Holy Ghost which had not yet been given). All of this corresponds to Jeremiah 17:13 in which the Lord is called the fountain of living waters.
We Must Stand on the Rock
We stand on the rock when we trust the Lord with our lives – the good, the bad, and the ugly. That means that we acknowledge Him as our Lord who knows what is best for us even when we can’t understand it. Standing on the rock lifts us up higher than the physical to the spiritual realm. From the sole of our feet to the top of our heads (and all our thoughts), it serves as a constant reminder that this is not our home. We can’t get so comfortable here that we forget our purpose and mission.
We must take every painful twinge as our cue to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). One day we will be with Him and like Him. John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
When My Heart is Overwhelmed
“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”Psalm 61:1-2
Psalm 61 is a Psalm of David. In it, David cries out to the Lord. He says he is praying “from the end of the earth,” and I know it can sure feel that way sometimes. In affliction, we can feel so far away from God. The devil’s lies that God doesn’t see us or care how we feel can get into our heads. Plus, sometimes we can also start to dance for the wrong reasons. Instead of a dance of love and worship to our King, it can start to be the tap dance of performance. We’re working, striving, doing, studying, praying, going to church, passing out tracts, and it never seems to be good enough for the voice in our heads. Our hearts can be weary and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of effort we expend, and each time we land on that painful rock, it’s like insult to injury.
Jesus Is the Rock That Is Higher Than I
But that’s when we need to pray for God to lead us to the rock that is higher than I. That means praying for God to:
- Lead us – because we can’t find our way without Him.
- To the Rock – the sure, solid ground that is our salvation, our strength, our fortress, and our refuge.
- That is higher than I – above ourselves, our problems, our sufferings, our works, and instead focused on what Jesus has done for us. His sacrifice, His salvation, and His grace that allows us rest in Him and His plan for us.
“For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.”Psalm 61:3-4
David then reminds God, and himself, that God has never failed him yet. He knows he can trust Him and looks forward to forever, to that “hope of glory.”
“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.”Psalm 61:5-7
God has heard our vows to serve Him. As Christians, He has given us a heritage as sons and daughters of God. God’s mercy and grace will keep us until the day He returns or calls us Home.
“So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.”Psalm 61:5-8
“So,” in consideration of all these things, we should ever be praising God. He alone is worthy, and it is the reasonable service of our our committment to Christ.
Keep on Dancing
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will also deny us.”2 Timothy 2:12
Suffering is part of the package for Christians. After all, we are not greater than our Lord who suffered and died for the sins of the world. We don’t always understand God’s reasoning and purposes, but we can trust in His character and stand on His Word. When affliction feels like a rock in our shoe, we must seek for the rock that is higher than I. After all, there is one who is greater, suffered more, and knows more about what we need to experience to be conformed to the image of Christ. He has never failed us and has given us His Holy Spirit who will help us persevere to the end. Until that day, rock and all, we need to just keep on dancing
Enjoy looking at scripture? Try Twinkly Trash: A Closer Look at Job 28 Like analogies? Try Staying Connected to God: Oxygen Mask Analogy. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email inbox. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom of a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud.