Cleft for Me

Little, my allergy cat, attended a follow up visit to the vet. I found her 14 years ago, thin, pitiful, infected, and nearly hairless, sitting on my breakfast area window. She meowed, without sound, looking in at the 25 year old rescue kitty; Magic lived up to her name by living a very, very long time.  I “cured” Little by enticing her with daily canned food, with a sprinkle of Ampicillin. I had no idea how many milligrams of the drug she was receiving; I just took a shot at seeing her healed. Don’t try this shoot-in-the-dark- method with your own animals, please. But, it worked. Eventually, she was healed, wormed, and “un-fleaed”, and the rest is history. She actually spent one year with Magic before her death at nearly 26.

Little has, right from the beginning, a habit of nestling in your arms and shoving her head under your armpit when she is waiting to see the vet. A cooperative individual, she seems to deal with her fear by hiding her face from the grim reality of the clinic. It seems to work for her, as she has employed this technique for the entirety of her life.

As I cradled her, the words of the hymn “Rock of Ages” came to me. The cleft for Little is my armpit.  Thankful the Lord provides me a finer place for security, I thought that even the armpit of the Lord is still safer than anywhere else with anyone else. She trusts me. Do I trust Him?

Little knows that the vet will surely bring something to her that she’d rather omit from her daily activities. Life often brings me that same scenario, introducing events, situation, and people that I honestly can say I wish with all my heart, strength, and mind could avoid. You fill in the blank: If only I did not have to_________, then I would not be in _______situation now.

I am writing a novel about a woman who is going through a storm of events she never thought could happen to her. She represents a collage of the women I have known who have had to deal with nearly every imaginable stressor. Where is our cleft during these times? My protagonist thinks she knew; her crises leads her right into the arms of the One who will hide us till the storm passes by.

Corrie ten Boom wrote her book, The Hiding Place, to record her experience in a Nazi concentration camp,  where she drew upon the words of David in Psalm 32:7; “You are a hiding place for me; You Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah. (pause, and calmly think about that!)” ( AMP). A real woman with a  real problem, a very real Jesus walked with her through internment, torture, and  the death of her sister. Following her release, she leaned on Him again to free her from the anger, bitterness, and defeat,  that many of us would have harbored,  and forgave her sister’s murderer. To his face.

Elizabeth Elliot, in her book  A Path Through Suffering, said something to the effect: that if you are drinking from a bitter cup, KNOW that it has already passed by the lips of the Lord. He knows. He tastes. He takes the first hit for us. Imagine how much more terrible the storms of life would be if He were not out there before us!

Often, I feel as if I am taking the brunt of the wind, the debris and trash stinging my skin and pelting me fiercely, and my balance is threatened as I pitifully try to keep my footing. The reason I feel like this is because I am putting myself out in front. I am taking the initial hits. Why? Because I don’t go to the Rock of Ages first, rest in Him, and find that cleft in which to hide myself.

Like David, I am pursued by enemies, evil threats, and forces that want to kill, steal, and destroy. The danger of not letting Jesus answer the door when the devil knocks is, not only the impending doom he wants to sell us but,  the damage to our soul and spirit in the aftermath. Who can predict the rage, fury, and anger that evolves after a hit to a loved one, our reputation, or a life’s goal? I confess I have had to stand back and look at myself, and in disgust, realize that I thought too highly of myself. I am but dust. I am infected by not only my own sin, but also the sin of others. Don’t we wish it were not so?

So, as I held Little, watching her relax and rest in her master’s arms, I realized that the Lord offers me the same freedom to come to Him and rest and be at peace. No matter what evil awaits us, He is there already,  and waiting for us. Unlike my armpit, His cleft is a beautiful fragrant place of refuge for the weary and afflicted soul. Go to Him. And if you haven’t already, read the two books mentioned. You will be blessed and strengthened.

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