The Cleft of the Rock
Exodus 33:22...”and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.” My family and I were taking on a section of the Appalachian Trail again to fulfill our mission to traverse the whole of this famous foot path. I was with two of my three sons, my daughter-in-law, and her Dad. The second day of the hike we left Roan High Knob before first light and made our way north. Rain was in the forecast as usual when I don a backpack, and, we had a long day ahead of us. Most of our views were obscured by the clouds that had descended over us. At over 6000 feet the weather has a mind of its own. As we ascended and left the shelter of the woods and made our way up a section of treeless mountain, here the wind was unabated and the clouds diminished your vision. At times I could just barely make out my sons ahead of me less than 50 yards. The higher we climbed the more treacherous it became. The wind was running sideways across the mountain with gusts of 50+ mph. We could barely stay on the trail.
At the 10 mile mark we had reached our camp for the night. It was in a shallow saddle on the mountain. A small circle of rocks marked its perimeter and a cold lonely fire pit lay at its center. The rain was blowing sideways. There was not a tree in sight. We stood at that foreboding spot yelling back and forth to one another so we could be heard above the wind. Just above us was a large out cropping of rock and we made our way there to get out of the wind and rain, and to discuss our next steps. Safely behind the shelter of our immovable rock fortress we sat on our packs and ate a brief lunch. It was here our spirits began to lift and our tired minds and bodies began to work properly. We determined we needed to push on and to climb down out of the clouds and wind. This meant an extra three and a half miles of arduous hiking, but a small sacrifice to pay for a place lower down the mountain and out of the ferocious winds.
LESSON: High on the mountain where there seemed to be no relief from the howling winds, bitter cold, and rain we found a safe haven. That safe haven was a large outcropping of rocks that blocked the winds, and provides us a place of respite and mental clarity. It was here we could rest and assess our current situation so that we might better determine our next steps. Out in the howling winds and rain it was difficult to communicate and make sound decisions. But, in this cleft of the rock we rested our legs, ate our lunch and determined our proper course of action. That night we slept out of the torrential winds of the high mountain and slept soundly in an open glade.
“Oh Lord, help us in the coming year to seclude ourselves in the cleft of The Rock so that we might discern Your Spirits leading and the directions we need to go. Help us not to look at the winds and the rain, but at your power and provision in the midst of the storm.”
Serving the King Together,