Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. -Psalm 61:1-3
I once lived in an ancient walled city surrounded by towering fortresses on high golden hills. The fortresses had once served as watchtowers for the King’s men. From their rocky heights the watchmen surveyed the countryside for any sign of threat or danger, sounding the alarm when enemies were spotted.
Today, the fortresses stand empty, vestiges of an old kingdom’s former might and glory.
Often I would climb the steep hillside, winding my way on the dusty path around the olive trees and young boys herding sheep. I would make my way to the fortress and perch myself high above the city nestled so busily in the valley below. I could see above the walls, beyond the mountains, all the way to the desert. I felt powerful, safe, refreshed. There was no pressing, jostling, stifling air up there. Only the musical calls of birds flying high and the occasional whistle of the shepherd boys. On that high rock I gained the clarity, the perspective I needed to return to life in the valley below.
The Psalmist understood the need for clarity and perspective. He knew how pressing life can be, how small one can feel underneath the burdens of toil and strain, how confused the mind can become in the din of so many conflicting voices.
Our God is a rock, a refuge, a strong tower. Upon that high Rock, we find the perspective, the clarity, the refreshment we are lacking down in the valley among the noisy throngs. In that Fortress, we are defended, we are rested, we are made ready to return to the demands of life.
Are you tired, weary, confused today? Do you long to escape?
Climb the hillside, perch yourself upon the Rock that is higher. Look out over the landscape of your life and see beyond the pressure, the density of daily labor and noise. Find refreshment for your soul and the strength you need to return to the work of your hands.