The idea of God being a Rock has meant a lot to me since I spent a season in a pit. Ps. 40 poetically states, “He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.”
One of the Songs of Truth that ministered to me during my trial is the song Rock of Ages by Augustus Toplady, and I listened to the Chris Rice version of this song on repeat until I memorized all the words. Sometimes I had the mental picture that Jesus was covering me and protecting me, me clinging to him for dear life as I was sinking deeper into a pit and the fear was so strong. Yet, even when I got to the bottom of the pit, I found that it was solid ground, and He was there. I was standing on a secure foundation, Him. And so He is the Rock I cling to and stand upon.
Each verse of this song speaks to the different aspects of the fear and faith struggles I face almost daily. It’s one of the deepest songs I know. Below are the verses and some truth I find in the words of the song.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.
What truth this speaks to me: God has always been a rock (like, forever) and he suffered and was broken (cleft) so I could be covered and hide myself in his brokenness. His death didn’t just save me from hell, but His blood was poured over me in such a way that it brought righteousness and holiness. When God looks at me He sees the purity of Christ. His blood made me white as snow. Being “in Christ” actually means something.
Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law’s demands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
this for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.
What truth this speaks to me: There is nothing I can do to earn God’s favor. To paraphrase my friend Shaun Cross who once said I have too low of view of the law if I think I can do things to keep all of it. My zeal to do good things will never accomplish perfection; therefore, I can never meet the demands of the law. I will fall short. Then I feel guilty and offer sacrifices, and my tears could come forever from guilt. But that still isn’t enough. Jesus is the only one who lived a perfect life that met all the demands of the law. My work can’t save me, only Jesus, and Jesus alone can save.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to thy cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.
What truth this speaks to me: I can bring nothing to God. Even all of my righteousness is as filthy rags before Him. So, I need the cross. I need to cling to it, to be covered in His righteousness. And I need His help. I need to be washed from my inequity. The harsh reality is that if a Savior doesn’t do this…I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
when my eyes shall close in death,
when I rise to worlds unknown,
and behold thee on thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.
What truth this speaks to me: I struggle with feeling uncertain, and in life there isn’t a lot I can be certain of. But I know we can be certain of one thing: I will die (and taxes, so says Benjamin Franklin). And so when the bible says that “Perfect Love Casts Our Fear” it’s talking about the love of Christ that has covered me so I do not have to be afraid of judgment at death. And if I don’t have to be afraid of judgement then I don’t have to be afraid of dying, which is the only thing I can be certain of. And if I don’t have to be afraid of the only thing I’m certain of, then I don’t have to be afraid of anything else. One day I will die and Iwill go to heaven and stand before God as judge. He will look at me, and all that I did and didn’t do on this earth and I will be judged. But there will also be with me a Savior who was broken, cleft for me. And I will find myself, once again, clinging to Him and standing on Him. Then in judgment, I will be found by God to be hidden in the glory of my Savior and rather than declared guilty as I deserve, I will be declared innocent and set completely free. Free to spend eternity worshipping my Rock. The Rock of Ages past, present, and future.