Last month I wrote about the effect of the recent storms on the beach near where I live. Well the rain has stopped at last, but the problems continue. On a recent Team day out from Glyndley Manor we visited a local beauty spot called Birling Gap, part of the cliff range on the South Downs of Southern England. These cliffs are chalk and the highest point, Beachey Head, is well known as both a beauty spot and sadly a place of suicide. However, during the recent storms the cliffs have been eroded and several sections have fallen into the sea.
Whilst we were looking at the damage at Birling Gap, one section of the cliffs about 100 metres from us suddenly collapsed and fell with a great splash. We were standing at the top of a steel staircase which used to lead down to the beach but is now closed due to the erosion. As we looked at the cliffs we saw that the sea had undermined them in several places by washing out the chalk, weakening the structure. Coupled with cracking from the surface, this caused the falls as the weight and the instability took their toll.
I was reminded of the verse in Deuteronomy 33, "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." However solid the cliffs looked, where they were eroded underneath they could not withstand the pressure and the damage the elements were causing. When Moses was speaking blessing over the tribes of Israel, he said to the tribe of Asher that “there is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty.” He was reminding the tribe that their true safety and security was in God, who would hold them safe because of His underlying “everlasting arms”. As Jesus pointed out the benefit of building on firm foundations, so also Moses encourages us to be firmly founded in the arms of God.
When the storms of life come against us they tend to find the weak places in us, like the soft chalk of the cliffs. If we rely only on our own ability to stand firm in times of difficulty we face the likelihood of collapse in some form or other. Only by resting in the everlasting arms of God can we be sure that we shall survive. To quote a well known song: “there maybe troubles ahead”, but resting in the arms of God means there is always a happy ending, in His presence.
Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for the assurance that when the storms of life hit us and threaten to undermine our security, we can rest in you and know that your arms will not let us down. Show us where the weak points lie which can threaten our peace and heal us we pray. Amen.