“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. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”- Exodus 33:21-22
The word cleft is defined as a split or fissure, particularly in a rock or in the ground. I can remember walking along many clefts when Hugh and I went hiking in the Yosemite. There were several times that I was almost afraid of crossing from one side of the rock to the next. At one point, I remember my foot slipping and I quickly realized that standing in the cleft of the rock was my most secure option. Once I balanced myself in the cleft, I caught on to the fact that it was much steadier in the cleft than on the surface of the rock. In the above passage in Scripture, God has asked Moses to allow Him to put Moses in the cleft of the rock. Why? Because Moses must be covered by Lord’s hand until He Himself has passed by. Moses is confused by this, as he desires to see the Lord, as He is, right then and there. Oh, how I can relate. I want to see the God in all circumstances and situations. I want God to show me His purposes and plans for everything immediately…instant gratification. However, just like with Moses, God does not tend to grant us this. Why? On earth, we have not yet been perfected. We could simply not handle seeing the Lord as He is on this side of heaven. For now, we must see the Lord from behind… see where He has passed by. While mysterious as it may be, there is so much beauty in knowing that the Lord goes before us! He is leading this journey. He, “hems us in behind and before” (Psalm 139:5). He covers us in the cleft because He knows this is the safest place for us. He. As a Christian, He promises us that one day, we, “shall see Him face to face…even as I am a fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Friends, the second portion is the part that brings freedom: we are already fully known. As our pastor says, “God has this thing rigged”. He not only knows the full story, He knows you fully as well. Truthfully, I am coming to see that He does this in His goodness. (I know, strange that a good God would act out of His goodness!). Walking through this horribly awesome journey with our girls, I can see that I could not have handled all the details at once. I could not have swallowed or comprehended the challenges and the unknowns that were ahead. I find such joy and excitement in knowing that as we sit in the cleft of the Rock, His glory is passing by. Day by day. Test by test. Decision by decision. As each new portion of the journey is unveiled, I see His back and I praise Him that He walked it for us so that we did not have to do so. Jesus is carrying this burden for us. The same God-man that said, “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name!” (John 12:27-28). He is the One doing this thing for us! For me, for our family, for you and yours. As we sit here in a season of waiting for blood work, desiring answers, and doctors claiming they too are perplexed, I breathe in deeply The One that is Never Surprised. When medicine steps out, God steps in and continues to hide us in the cleft. My prayer for you today is that if you find yourself in the cleft, try not to look behind or before. He is there. He is working out all the details. Instead, focus on the hand that covers You. Whether on this side of heaven or the next, You will see His glory. He is always, always working. Rest in Him today.