“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 lxi. 2.
In the providential dealings of our God with His people, they are often brought into dark surroundings where their ways are enclosed with hewn stone, the mind filled with gloomy forebodings of impending danger, distress and manifold temptations surrounding them, from which trials no arm but that of God can deliver them, no voice but His can soothe their woes and bid their sorrows cease. All their own efforts to extricate themselves from this condition have proved abortive, and now poor, needy, helpless and dependent, they come to God, and there is a cry within their soul unto Him for deliverance. It is not a cry in a light and trivial manner; oh, no; but a deep agonizing cry for help, as they sink in deep waters wherein there is no standing-place; a cry like unto Peter’s, as he sank beneath the waves, “Lord, save, or I perish;” and as the cry of the psalmist, “Deep calleth unto deep at the voice of Thy waterspouts: all Thy waves are Thy billows are gone over me.” There is a realizing sense of deep depravity, of the utter insufficiency of mortal things to satisfy the desires or emotions of the spiritual mind; they feel that they are afar off from God, the chief of sinners, the vilest of the vile, the very “ends of the earth.” From this place the psalmist cries unto God, “when my heart is overwhelmed.” In the horrible gloom of such a condition, in the crucifying ordeal of such a trial, there is no place to go for refuge and comfort but unto God.
The truth of Peter’s words is realized here, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” And in the language of Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” One in this condition has tried every source within his own reach, grasped at every shadow, climbed to the top of the highest mountain of human skill and ability, and the waters have yet overwhelmed him even there. Truly “my heart is overwhelmed.” There is a realizing sense that no arm but that of God can lead him out from beneath the crushing weight of such a trial; hence the cry: “Lead me.” Take my hand,
“And through the storm and danger’s thrall,
Lead me to the port of peace.”
And as I have found no place of peace, refuge and security in my own mortal nature and surroundings, as all of my own strength and ability, and every grasping place within my reach has proved to be less than nothing and vanity, “lead me to the Rock that is higher than I,” that is far above and beyond every place of refuge to which I have yet come.
“O fix my feet upon a rock
Beneath the gaping flood.”
Days, weeks, and perhaps months, yea, years, may roll around and there is as yet no realization of an answer to that cry within the heart of the tempted saint. It is as a wall of adamant around him, and as brass above him, and there is no answering echo to the cry within, until the purpose of God in the trial is accomplished. God has set the bounds to the raging waves, the fiery darts, the distressful anguish, the terrible sorrows which fill the soul, saying, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” And when His purpose in that trial is accomplished, swifter than lightning the word of deliverance comes from His throne, calming at once the angry billows of that tempest which has been raging around the tempted saint, rolling back the clouds from the heavens above, and causing to glitter in the light of eternal Deity the lovely bow of the promise in the covenant of God. Leaning upon the strong arm of Israel’s Beloved, we pass safely through, and soar above the deep waters of affliction, the unfathomable depths of trial and sorrow, over the misty fogs and clouds of our mortal nature, into the clear upper sky of the promises of God. We walk now in His guiding presence, realizing that we are in the triumphant train of the King of kings and Lord of lords. O the rapturous delight, the joys unknown, which fill the soul of a quickened sinner when first he comes, or is brought again in his after-experience, to realize the fact that his feet stand upon “the Rock that is higher than I.” How it fills the soul with sadness to think that it has to turn again into the dreary way of life’s sorrows, the dark valley through this wilderness of sin. Yet it is all for our good. Our feet shall never be removed from that rock, and it (the rock)
“Will stand he blast of hell and sin,
An anchor sure within the vail.”
God will never leave nor forsake His people, though at times they may feel that they are forsaken by Him. The Christian’s hope shall never fail. He will give them strength to look unto Him, and cause them to lean upon His strong arm. That strength may come through a manifestation of their own weakness and utter nothingness, and they find it sufficient in their every time of need.
Yours in hope,
WM. M. Smoot,
April 28, 1876.