Not long ago, we took a holiday in Devon. Leon returned from 11 days away on a trip to South Africa, and we wanted some quality time together as a family once he returned. We also didn’t get a holiday last year with having a baby and travelling to the US for ten weeks. We were desperate to get away for some downtime, so we chose to drive to the opposite end of the country and visit the county of Devon.
While in Devon, we ventured out of our holiday accommodation and went for a walk in Dartmoor. The plan was that we would walk a circuitous route to Haytor Rocks and back to our car. But our plans changed when we saw how soggy the other half of our walk was. We decided to let the children scramble up and down the rocks for a while before heading back to the car.
They loved it. In fact, Asher begged to go back to that exact spot in a few days so he could do it again. It was a beautiful day (albeit, cold and windy). What a perfect opportunity to spend the morning scrambling and climbing. Even my mom and I joined in on the climbing, and we met some lovely people at the top.
While scrambling on the rocks, we found a staircase cut and worn into the rock, making it easier to climb. But as with anything you climb, at some point, you must climb back down. Eva Joy climbed up without fear, but she felt insecure when it came time to climb down. We encouraged Eva Joy to scramble down with her tummy facing the rocks because it was safer. It changes her centre of gravity, making it easier to climb down without the fear of falling all the way to the ground.
This mama’s heart doesn’t always cope with the adventurous things we do as a family, but I know the risk-taking and problem solving is good for them.
Eva Joy tried climbing down. As we encouraged her to face the rocks as she climbed down, it gave me a picture of our relationship with God. When we go through life, our tendency is to climb down without much help. This can leave us feeling vulnerable and precarious—prone to fall because our balance is off. But if we turn and face God our Rock, we can rely on Him to help us get down, to help us through life.
“From the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. … Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!”
Psalms 61:2-3, 4b ESV
Our son Titus had an operation at 2 days old to attach his duodenum to the rest of his digestive system. Due to complications from his heart condition, his blood pressure dropped dangerously low during the operation. The surgeon and Titus’s cardiologist made the decision to transfer him from the RVI Hospital to Freeman Hospital, where more expert nurses and doctors could better monitor our baby’s heart. Titus’s unstable condition continued through the night and into the following day. His condition was up and down throughout the morning when the doctors finally made the decision to take Titus to the catheter lab, where the cardiologist would insert a stent in our newborn’s heart.
I call to you when my heart is faint.
Titus had a very weak heart. Nothing could have prepared me for the implications of Titus’s congenital heart disease. I had no idea how his unstable, fragile heart would expose my weak heart and faith in God.
My heart broke into a million pieces watching the nurses wheel Titus out of PICU to the catheter lab. I don’t recall ever feeling so helpless. Just as Titus relied on the doctors and nurses for life-saving support, it was through those helpless times that I learned to rely on the Lord for life-giving strength.
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge.
Titus’s life was fraught with uncertainty. Even in those very early days, Titus kept the doctors busy figuring out what was wrong. The only thing that didn’t change in that period was God. He was our firm foundation. He was the Rock that the waves of our storm threw us against. God still stands firm, unmoving like the house built on the rock compares to the house on the sand. The uncertainty surrounding Titus’s condition in those early days continually led us to God our Rock.
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!
As we waited for hours for the results of the procedure, we waited and prayed. As I prayed, the words “hide me in the cleft of the rock” and “protection in the shadow of the Lord’s wings” came to mind. I had a picture of God protecting our son under the shadow of His wings. It gave me peace. And God also lead us to the Rock—to the One who is higher than us, the One whose ways are higher than our own.
When life is going well, we face it without fear. Sometimes we walk through storms that leave us feeling insecure and faint. It’s in those storms that we realise we can’t go through it alone. We must face—sometimes lean—on the Rock to help us and guide us. Turn toward the Rock. Turn toward God and take refuge in Him as you weather the storm.