{Honey From the Rock}

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”  Oscar Wilde

Many times when God speaks to me, it is just a word or phrase.  Sometimes, it is a question or a scripture.  One morning while praying, He asked me this question: “Have you found your honey?”

I immediately knew what He meant.  Years ago, my dad preached a sermon called “Honey From the Rock.”  It was so impactful, I even wrote a song about it:

“Like honey from the rock

Oil from Your throne

Lord, Your Word restores my soul

My spirit is renewed

My thoughts are one with You

Heaven’s purpose now my own.”

There are a couple of scripture references to honey from the rock.  One is found in Psalm 81:16(NLT), “But I would feed you with the finest wheat.  I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock.”

Another is found in Deuteronomy 32:13(NLT), “He let them ride over the highlands and feast on the crops of the fields.He nourished them with honey from the rock and olive oil from the stony ground.”  

Wild honey was honey stored by bees in rocks or trees.  If there is not a place for bees to create a hive, they will create a nest in rocks or, as seen in the story of Samson, in the carcass of a lion. In Judges 14, Samson and his parents were on their way to arrange a marriage for him.  As they traveled to the woman’s town, a lion came to attack them.

Judges 14:6-9(Message Version)

“The Spirit of God came on him powerfully and he ripped it open barehanded, like tearing a young goat. But he didn’t tell his parents what he had done.” 7 Then he went on down and spoke to the woman. In Samson’s eyes, she was the one.  8-9 Some days later when he came back to get her, he made a little detour to look at what was left of the lion. And there a wonder: a swarm of bees in the lion’s carcass—and honey! He scooped it up in his hands and kept going, eating as he went. He rejoined his father and mother and gave some to them and they ate. But he didn’t tell them that he had scooped out the honey from the lion’s carcass.”

Sometimes, the hardest, roughest, scariest, seemingly unmovable times in our lives can offer us the greatest sweetness.  The very thing that tried to kill Sampson provided him strength, nourishment and sweetness.

So, have I found my honey?

Honestly, I think I have.  In His presence, I have peace, strength, grace and hope.  Out of his presence, I don’t have those things. The very thing that could have made my faith waver, stolen my song and wreaked havoc upon my family has, instead, provided me with strength I never knew, songs I’ve never sung and joy unspeakable.

Life is filled with unexpected journeys, both the good kind and the bad kind. A good portion of my life has been an  unexpected journey.   Some journeys have been incredibly awesome and others have been incredibly challenging.

The little unexpected journeys are fairly easy to navigate. The big ones can either cause our lives to turn upside down or draw us closer to the One who infuses us with strength.

I choose to draw closer.  I choose to remind myself daily that His Name is a strong tower.  He is a refuge and a place of complete safety. The name of the Lord includes all His attributes:  His goodness, grace, and mercy.  His favor encompasses about us as a shield.  His truth and faithfulness preserve us.  We are kept by His power.  We can continually come to Him, exercising faith upon Him, which is what is meant by “running” to him. Unexpected journeys give us opportunities to run to Him.  Unexpected journeys can fill our lives with honey and sweetness if we look for it.

I learned to look for the honey.  I learned to look and see His goodness even in the dark times.  All that God taught and showed me through our experiences with my miscarriages and Lily’s medical needs strengthened me for the next mountain our family would face.  I had no idea the journey that laid ahead of us.  We were in for the most intense, emotional gut-wrenching fight of our lives.

How do you know what you can handle? What your family can handle? What God can grace your family to handle?How do you know if God is ordaining your steps or if you are following a whimsical ideal?

For me the answer is to take a step and see what happens.   Then, take another step and see what happens.  And Don’t. Stop. Taking. Steps. You trust. You believe. You listen to that still small voice.  You let go of your own petty concerns and say, “Here I am Lord, send me.  Use me.”

I have found sweetness in the midst of the lion of life.  I pray that Jesus would fill you up with His presence, give you the strength to overcome whatever you may be facing, and delight you with sweet honey from the Rock.

This excerpt is taken from Rachel Shafer’s book “Expect God.”  For further reading and information go to http://www.rachelshafer.com.