I migrated to Washington from flat country. You could see for miles with nary a bump or hill to impede your view. In other words, there was nothing to obstruct your view of nothing! For that reason, the sight of Mount Rainier never fails to take my breath away. I remember some comedian commenting on our Northwest adulation of the mountain, asking, “you know it’s just a big rock, right?”
Yes, it’s a rock; but, oh, what a rock it is! Enormous, imposing, majestic, glorious! I think many of us agree that there is something very reassuring about it. There is a strength we seem to draw from its presence in the landscape. It reminds me of David’s words:
Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
(Psalm 61:1-2; NKJ)
We do not know when David wrote this psalm. Some think these words were written when he was fleeing into the wilderness to escape the mentally unstable and murderous King Saul. That is a possibility. It is also possible that David was actually at home in his palace and yet feeling overwhelmed by the problems and threats to his kingdom. He may have been feeling isolated and alone even in the middle of a crowd. He may have been feeling a spiritual dryness and alienation from the presence of God.
I believe the lack of specifics is purposeful; it allows David’s words to fit any number of our own circumstances. Because, I think many of us can identify with David these days. I am hearing that many people are feeling overwhelmed. Certainly, current world events are contributing to that feeling. Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed with problems at work, or conflicts at home. Many people are feeling lonely and isolated in this time of continuing quarantine and social distancing. What about you, my friend? Is your heart overwhelmed?
We don’t know what rock David was seeing or picturing. Some think it might have been the fortress rock of Masada. Again, we just don’t know. But what we do know is that the real rock, the real mountain he was turning to was God! He says in Psalm 18: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress…”
What a rock our Lord is! Infinite, imposing, majestic, glorious! He is the rock that is higher than I! Hey, a pet rock isn’t going to do you any good in these times! A landscaping boulder is not going to bring you any help. We need the rock that is higher – infinitely higher – than we are. We need God.
Do you see that David wasn’t pleading with God to fix his problems? Do you see that David wasn’t just asking God to simply remove his pains? He was asking to be led into the very presence of God. He was longing to experience the presence of God. We certainly can ask God for any help, but what we need most is God himself. Are you feeling overwhelmed? David has already given you the words to pray. Call out to God, ask him to lead you to the rock that is higher than you or any problem you face. Ask him to lead you to Him!