by Pauline Simonsen
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‘He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken’ (Psalm 62:6).
We were travelling over the Central Plateau of New Zealand’s North Island, which is normally a barren, desert-like landscape of tussock, dominated by three great looming mountains. But we had been overtaken by a phenomenal rainstorm, with horizontal rain and almost zero visibility. It was very dangerous, with great sheets of water on the road. Our car slowed to a crawl as we strained to follow the white line on the side of the road, which was all we could see in the grey driving rain. It felt like we were the only living things out there in this elemental chaos. Occasionally, the lights of another car would loom out of the stormy darkness, reassuring us. But we passed cars pulled up on the verge, and one had even slid off the road into the drain alongside. Others were not faring so well.
We crept across the Central Plateau in this streaming darkness, all sixty kilometres of it. It was only as we were descending that the weather-bomb passed. The rain began to ease, visibility improved, and I became aware of the sunlight shining behind us. I looked back over my shoulder, and suddenly, where there had been only grey rain and gloom for the last half hour, I could now see the majestic, mighty presence of Mt Ruapehu. There was sunshine behind it and shining all around it.
It took my breath away. You would never have known it was there before. The black rainclouds and gloom had utterly hidden it. But it was always there; it hadn’t moved. Of course, it hadn’t – not that great mighty rock!
We all experience ‘rainstorms’ in our lives when darkness is closing in, and we are scared, unsure and frightened of what lies ahead because we can’t see! Know that your great God, your Ruapehu God, stands at your shoulder – even if you can’t see him! He is immovable. He is the rock of your salvation, the rock eternal. He is going nowhere.
The psalmist says, ‘power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord’. Yes, believe it. Your Ruapehu God is profoundly present. He hears when you cry out for help, and he will act for you in his wisdom and compassion.
God, our mighty rock, our very present help in times of trouble, help us not to fear, even though we lose sight of you in the rainstorms of our life. Remind us of the mountain hidden in the clouds, and give us an epiphany of your eternal presence and steadfast love. Amen.