September 11, 2017
“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8 (NASB)
I remember standing at the bottom of a cliff jutting over the sea and wondering how I’d ever make it to the top.
I was attending a small college where I’d signed up for a class called Outdoor Pursuits. This adventuresome course required students to complete weekly excursions such as kayaking and spelunking, hiking and rock climbing.
On this particular day, my assignment was to climb to the top of a stony crag where my instructor waited. Most of my friends had already conquered the challenge, so when it was my turn, I reached confidently for a long crevice in the rock and heaved my slight frame onto a narrow foothold.
Once I’d steadied myself, I surveyed the rock face for another jug to grab and convinced my feet to follow. Slowly, I scaled the cliff ... until I reached an impasse. I scanned the area for a ledge to grab, but every possibility was beyond my reach. Suddenly, I was stuck somewhere between the jagged summit of an ancient rock and the white-capped waves of the Irish Sea below.
My arms began to shake, and my legs trembled. I considered giving up. But instead, I decided to cling to that cliff with a shred of stubborn hope.
It’s been decades since I found myself stuck above that swirling sea. But over the years, I’ve learned rock climbing isn’t the only thing that can leave us dangling in dismay. Life in this broken world can do that, too.
And when we find ourselves stuck, we can either crumble or cling.
In Psalm 63:8, the famous King David writes: “My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”
It sounds poetic and brave, doesn’t it? But when David penned these words, he wasn’t sailing on a sea of blessing.
He was hiding in the wilderness of Judah, on the run from a man (King Saul) who wanted him dead. In layman’s terms, David was stuck.
But when David’s circumstances threatened to bring him down, he invited his Savior to hold him up.
Instead of giving up, he looked up.
Instead of panicking, he prayed.
And we are free to do the same.
David’s example in Psalm 63 reminds us prayer isn’t just a prescription for smooth sailing. Prayer is a decision to seek shelter from the storm.
Prayer isn’t merely clamoring for our way; it’s choosing to cling to the One who knows the way.
On that long-ago day when I found myself stuck on a stony crag, I did more than cling with my hands; I clung with my heart, too.
Rather than focus on the waves that churned the sea, I talked to the One who could calm the clamor in me.
My instructor eventually pointed out a foothold I couldn’t see, and I followed his directions safely to the summit.
Scripture tell us David was eventually released from his stuck place, too. And through him, the Lord established a kingdom that would never end.
It’s a story with a happy ending, but if we focus only on David’s summit, we miss the miracle in the middle. You see, even before God changed David’s circumstances, prayer changed his outlook. Read Psalm 63, and see for yourself.
Though David didn’t understand what God was doing, he declared in prayer Who he knew God to be. As he clung to the Rock of his salvation (2 Samuel 22:47), David’s angst turned to adoration; his panic gave way to peace.
From his desperate cries in verse one of Psalm 63 to his joyful praise in the verses that follow, it’s clear this rising king experienced a change of heart.
This is the great miracle of prayer.
Prayer might not instantly set us free from our problems, but it sets us free to enjoy the Lord’s presence wherever we are.
When we choose to cling in faith instead of crumbling in fear, we discover we’re not dangling alone. Even in our stuck places, God is there, holding us in His unrelenting grip of grace.
Dear God, my faith may falter, but Your faithfulness won’t. My strength may wane, but Your love won’t. Teach my soul to cling to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 26:3-4, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.” (NLT)
For more encouragement, join Alicia Bruxvoort at her blog today.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Which “stuck place” do you need to surrender to the Lord? Spend some time in the Psalms and ask God to show you more clearly Who He is. (You can start with Psalm chapter 42, 62, 63 or 103.) Write your own clinging prayer of faith.
© 2017 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 11 September 2017.