“Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139 7-10
Spring Canyon, New Mexico.
I recall a day in May 2013, when my husband and I were taking in the pleasures of a cross-country journey from Atlanta to the west coast. We stopped at a nearby park for a much needed break away from the miles we had already driven that morning, knowing full well that we would be traveling along more miles of sizzling asphalt that afternoon. We found ourselves in an area of the desert, where mirages were plenty and gas stations and restaurants were sparse. We wondered if we would run out of gas before entering another deserted ghost town along our trek.
Yet, we enjoyed the serenity of the desert and all the varied forms of sun-scorched cacti speckling the landscape. Dust-devils filled with spinning sand and desert chaff pelted our little car from every angle imaginable.
“Wow, would you check out this wind?” I said, flinging my car door open as a giant gust of wind threatened to rip it from its hinges and hurl it up into the air.
I stepped out of the car and my shoulders burned from the intense rays of a hot, hazy sun. Parched, I yearned for something cold to drink. I stood amazed at how one after another, spirals of swirling wind took flight. They reminded me of tempests at sea, appearing to roll up and over whatever obstacle laid next in their path.
Whoosh, “Hold on, here comes another one!”, I exclaimed, as I held onto my straw hat out of fear that it would be swept so far away I would never find it. But, it managed to protect my face from an onslaught of whirling, stinging particles that felt as if they had just been expelled from a giant furnace.
Even with the aid of binoculars, animals were scarce. High above, enormous black ravens circled, scavenging for anything dead to eat. I imagined rattlesnakes and lizards slithering for cover.
My mind began to wonder. How could anything live, let alone grow, in such a beautiful, yet harsh and deserted land? Yet, in the hour or so we spent there, I was privileged to experience one of the most breathtaking moments with the Lord I could have ever imagined.
Tall, red rock formations, rocky crags, and deserted caves literally covered the landscape, some of which grew a type of long airy moss, dry and chartreuse in color.
Sensing that I was nothing more than a dot on the landscape, what I beheld next caught me entirely off guard.
At that instant, my gaze settled on a massive rock formation, standing directly in front of me. I found myself taking it in, contemplating how much I’ve seen God work in my life.
Suddenly, my eyes focused on what appeared to be a cross, as if it had been cut by the finger of God. I stammered, “Lord, are you showing me a cross in the side of that magnificent rock?”
Tears filled my eyes as I lifted my arms up to Heaven. “Oh God, it is you!”
Instantly, the Holy Spirit prompted me to remember Psalm 139:7-10.
I called out loud, “Oh, God, it is you, out here in the middle of the desert, in the middle of nowhere, where I stand - overwhelmed, yet doubting your love for me. I feel so sinful, so alone, and so far away from you.”
“Dear Lord, I’m lost without you and humbly admit that I’m a sinner in desperate need of your mercy. Help me to see that it was on the Cross, where you died for me. Thank you for reminding me that no matter where I am, Lord, you’re with me. Your love and unending faithfulness fills my soul anew. My heart is filled with awe as I delight in the sure fact that You’re my Rock, reminding me that I am known and loved by you. I’m valued, and cherished, and forgiven.
All by a Savior like you.
In Your Precious name I pray. Amen.
What can we do when we’re overwhelmed by the onslaught of lies that tell us we’re too sinful, or too insignificant, to be loved by a holy God. When we dwell on the phrase, I don’t deserve God’s love, we must recognize that through it all, God calls us to a place of true repentance.
That day, I began to see that God holds me in the cleft, at the bottom of the cross, and I was comforted. I sensed his presence right there with me, and the only thing I knew to do was sing His praises.
Cling to his promises and allow His Spirit to provide the contentment only he can provide. Rest in the certainty of His unfailing mercy and grace, despite your deepest doubts and struggles.
At the foot of the cross, you, and I, are eternally covered and protected because of His sacrificial