LaTan Roland Murphy
On The Edge - Lessons From the Cliff
So many times in our lives we feel like we are all alone, just barely hanging on. We wonder why we are here, whether God cares and if so, why hasn’t He come to rescue us? On the edge, we listen to the wind as it blows around us like dry leaves. Our eyes fasten onto the remains of our lives, crumbling as dried mud at our feet, We may hear the murmur of the crowd nearby but it does not comfort us. Slowly we find ourselves on the cliff of the rock. We’re not sure how we got there, or even if we will ever get off. We look at the distance between us and what appears familiar and are afraid of falling. There seems to be nothing to hang on to except the sheet flat glass-like face of the rock. The cliff has no back door or escape ladder and we feel alone, frightened and neglected by God. For if He truly loved us, we would not be on the cliff but instead, safe on the ground.
It doesn’t take long standing on that cliff before we start blaming, first ourselves, thinking: “If I’d had a closer walk, tithed, prayed more.” Maybe we start blaming our families, “If my spouse were better ,,, or, my children - maybe I'm here because they need to learn a lesson.” Finally we blame others, “ If only they’d told me.. Showed more compassion …”
In the end we blame God. God seems to be the safe one to blame, He can handle our anger, pain, sorrows and fears. After all, He created us, knows us better than we know ourselves. He is the One who placed us on this cliff, after all.
We have all been there at one time or another. In our world today, we are quarantined: dreams, plans and jobs are put on hold. Fear of Covid_19 runs rampant throughout the world. Never have we seen anything like this.
Perhaps it’s a health issue, or bills not getting paid or wayward children that have us on our cliff. We wonder, however silently, if we will survive, and where is God? We have seen Him move before, but He seems so silent now.
Moses had seen the miracles, met God on the mountain, seen Him in the pillar and in the cloud. Yet now after the sin of the golden calf, he desired to see God in a different way, to know he and his people had been reconciled with God. Moses asked God to show him His glory. God told him that no man had ever seen His face and lived, but continued,
“Behold there is a place by me and thou shalt stand upon a rock. And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cliff of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by: And I will take away My hand and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33
I have often pictured the scene of Moses on the edge of the cliff that jutted out from the side of the mountain. As he waited, did he stand fearlessly on the cliff overlooking the view? Did he look out at the clear blue sky and watch the eagles flying and gliding on the breeze?
Did he look down to where the Israelite's stood waiting for him, maybe hearing the hum of their voices? Did he wonder if he had asked for too much? Then the hand of God came and covered not only the face of the cave but Moses as well, as the glory of God passes by. I’ve wondered if he saw some of God’s glory coming through His fingers. What exactly does the hand and back of God look like?
But, never once did I wonder how Moses got there or got back down. I never once thought he might have been scared to death because of the height of the mountain, or the power of the wind threatening a fall. As I re read that part of the story I noticed something that I had missed so many times before:
“And the Lord said, Behold there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock. And it shall come to pass while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cliff of the rock and cover thee with my hand as I pass by.”
“Behold there is a place by me.” - Exodus 33:21-22
Moses was not on that rock alone; God was right beside him all the time. Then I noticed that Moses was on that cliff because God had put him there.The hand that covered Moses was for his protection. Moses saw God’s back, but it wasn't just the fact that he saw His back but that God was in front of him. No matter where Moses went, God was in front of him, already there. On the cliff, Moses saw the One who was leading him.
The same is true for you, dear friend: God has not changed, He is right beside you on edge of your cliff. Although you may feel like you are on the edge, just trust and look for Him.
Copyright 2020 Susan Peaslee
Meet my friend, Susan!
Susan grew up in Wells, Maine. She and her husband Neil have been married for 41 years. They have two daughters and three sons and 12 grandchildren, Susan has been involved in children's ministry and women's ministry for the last 30 years. She is a Bible study leader, a writer and a speaker, who has experienced the grief of losing a son to suicide and two infant granddaughters. She heart for those who are suffering and grieving. Her heart desire is to see women find their comfort in the arms of the Lord and to find and use their gifts to further the kingdom. Susan has been an Ed Tech III at a local public school for the last 26 years.
Fun Facts: Loves to quilt, read