Refreshed Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I often feel caught between a rock and a hard place. In fact, some weeks it seems that I merely step from one rock to another hard place, wondering when the tough times will pass so that I can experience those “times of refreshment from the Lord” (Acts 3:20). But God promises to refresh me in and from those places. Strange. I don’t know that I’ve often expected refreshment in, and especially not from, hard circumstances, difficult relationships, or the agony of waiting.

A couple of days ago I was feeling caught in one of those “rock and hard place” days. I came back to the office after lunch, feeling the anxiety building up inside, and was reminded to pray my midday Psalm. The scheduled Psalm was 114 which highlights the power of God as it was displayed through the wilderness wanderings of His people after the Exodus. Talk about some hard places! The Psalm concludes with these verses: “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water” (vv. 7-8).

The psalmist is most likely alluding to those moments when God’s people found themselves on “thirsty ground where there was no water” (Deuteronomy 8:15). The people complained to Moses, Moses cried out to God, and God provided fresh water from the side of a rock (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:2-13). As I meditated on these verses the Spirit seemed to be saying, “You don’t have to wait until the hard times are past to find refreshment. I can satisfy your thirsty heart from the rock and in the hard place. When I am present in those places (and I Am), you can find refreshment for your soul.” I was then reminded that just the week before He had me meditating on Exodus 17:1-7, the time God told Moses to strike the rock and watch the water flow. God told Moses in verse 6, “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” The key to the rock providing water was not the pounding of Moses’ staff but the presence of the Standing God.

Not even a moment after the Spirit opened my eyes to see that wonderful truth, He turned my heart toward Christ. I envisioned Him on the cross, standing on that nail in His feet, pouring out His life for me. I thought about the soldier’s spear that made blood and water flow from the side of the Rock of my Salvation (John 19:34). I was filled with new confidence and comfort that my God was present in the hard places in my life, and that He indeed is the One who “turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.”

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