I spoke with a wise friend and she said, “I think another wave is coming your way! Now is the time to get ready.” I tucked those words away in my heart and wondered, “Then how do I prepare so I can walk on water with Jesus when it comes?”
As I prayed about that one morning it seemed God whispered to my heart to turn to chapter four of a book I’d just received. How did the chapter begin? With a story about a huge wave that hit Asia and the plans being made to ensure a better outcome in the future.
One phrase leaped out: Get to higher ground. It echoed in my heart because ever since the New Year has started I’ve also been asking God to teach me to live in JOY–the higher ground of the heart.
All kinds of waves come into our lives. They can flow from a tide of blessings or come out of a storm. Happy or hard, they can overwhelm us if we end up treading water in our own strength (not that I know from experience—ahem).
I pondered, “Okay, God, how do I get my heart to higher ground so I’m ready? Where do you want me to go?”
The next morning I read a verse in Psalms about joy. I loved it so much that I wrote it in my journal:
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous, You surround them with Your favor as with Your shield. Psalm 5:11-12
I loved the imagery of the verse–how it says God not only spreads His protection over us, He surrounds us on every side. I even drew this picture of it in my journal and wrote the phrase “like the cleft of the rock.”
You remember the story about the cleft of the rock, don’t you? The Israelites are on their way to the Promised Land. They rebel and God says He’ll no longer go with them. Moses begs for God’s mercy and says they won’t go to higher ground without Him.
Moses said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said, “Now show me Your glory.” Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.” (read the whole story in Exodus 33:12-23)
A few days later on a quiet morning, I opened Sheila Walsh’s new book, The Shelter of God’s Promises. I’ve loved Sheila’s writing ever since her book The Heartache No One Sees helped heal some broken places in me several years ago. I’m not the only one Sheila has touched–her writing and speaking have ministered to millions of women, especially through Women of Faith.
In the first few pages of The Shelter of God’s Promises, Sheila shares a story of going to higher ground. This time it’s quite literal–a hiking trip to the mountains with friends during college. Through some hilarious as well as anxiety-producing circumstances, Sheila winds up spending the night in a cave and God uses that experience to show her He is her true shelter. She closes this chapter, which encapsulates the heart of the book, with these words:
What has had the most lasting impact on me is that, in the storm and under pressure, God took me to a place of rest, comfort, and ultimately, to a place of absolute beauty. Even among discomfort, disappointment, and displacement, I was kept safe.
From a cleft in the rock, a new day dawned, a glimpse of splendor and glory, and a moment of such beautiful fellowship with God that I knew He loved me deeply, intimately, surely, as sure as the rock I stood upon.
Sheila made her way to higher ground on that hiking trip. She found the shelter her heart needed not just for that night but for all of life. And it wasn’t just a place–it was a Person. I thought back to the questions I’d asked…
God, how do I get my heart to higher ground? Where do You want me to go?
To the cleft of the rock.
The One who will shelter us–no matter what may come.
The One who will walk on water with us–yes, the time will come!
Friends, let’s move onward and upward together this year…
Who’s with me?
Thanks to our generous friends at Thomas Nelson and DaySpring, I’ve put together a “Promise Pack” for you. It has a copy of The Shelter of God’s Promises, a Daily Bread Promise Box, and an All Things Through Christ bracelet!
I’m giving away two of these Promise Packs. Just leave a comment sharing how God’s promises have been your shelter in the past (we’ll praise Him with you!) or a situation where you need Him to shelter you now (we’ll pray for you too). Also, what’s a question your heart is asking after reading this post?
Leave your comment by midnight on Thursday the 13th to be entered for the Promise Pack. AND Sheila Walsh has agreed to personally answer two of your questions during a radio broadcast on January 19th. Woo-hoo! I’ll share more fun details when I announce the Promise Pack winners! _______________________________________________________________________________________
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