It was nearing the end of the season. A snow storm was coming toward California, and the time was now. Alex Honnold (Free Solo climber and the first person to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan without a safety rope) and Emily Harrington (five-time US Sport-Climbing champion) set out to free climb Yosemite’s El Capitan. They chose to simul climb, which is where climbers ascend at the same time on the same rope.
“It’s essentially done for speed,” Emily said.
This, admittedly, wasn’t the safest way to climb, but it was a risk they took in order to climb it in 24 hours, a vast difference from the six days it took her years earlier.
Emily led and kept gear between her and Alex on the rope. It was cold (25 degrees), and Emily remembered her toes were numb. Obviously, for a rock climber, this wasn’t good, as you need to be able to feel the rock; it affected how she stood on her feet. Her foot “skated off.” She fell about 40-50 feet and hit her head. She told Alex she was ok, but she was hurt. He lowered her down to safety, a ledge on the wall of the mountain, where they waited 90 minutes for Yosemite’s Search and Rescue.1 During the wait, Alex “calmly maintain[ed] spinal immobilization on the wall, g[ot] things ready for an evac, and t[old] stories and ke[pt] her talking throughout.”2 Spinal immobilization uses different ways to stabilize the spinal column to keep the spinal cord from being damaged. Amazingly, she didn’t break any bones or have any spinal injuries, though she did injure her left leg and left elbow, lower back/tail bone, and neck!1
“May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you, O LORD, my Refuge and my Redeemer!”Psalm 19:14 GNT
The Holy Spirit’s put this verse on recall, over and over, again, in my heart and mind this week. It’s a well-known verse, but I feel it gets misquoted, sometimes, and I lose the full meaning, if the end of the verse, “my Refuge and my Redeemer,” is left off.
In order to absorb these honorifics, I looked deeper into this verse. The Hebrew word for “thoughts” (“meditations” in many translations) means they’re concentrated on one area or subject, and they’re very thorough.
What comes from the heart is serious business. We’re talking about the center of our feelings, will, and even our reasoning and understanding…things public (words) AND private (heart). The heart affects everything, so it needs a good, frequent walk-through!
LORD, in these verses, as you probably know, is “Yhvh,” pronounced yeh-ho-vaw’, which is where Jehovah comes from. It means that He’s self-existent and eternal. No one…nothing else caused Him to exist! He’s always been there; He always will be!
“Refuge” is a figurative description for a place of safety from pursuit, danger, or trouble. It refers to an area that’s next to a dangerously high, steep, cliff drop.
“Redeemer” refers to One Who saved another. When someone saves you, whatever they save you from, that action should, naturally, bring about a bond between the two of you. It’s a different kind of relationship than you have with others, and it changes your life.
Verse 14 is the last verse in Chapter 19. The rest of the chapter talks about creation continuously declaring the glory of God everywhere and how obeying God’s code of law, etc., brings great reward. After recognizing the weightiness of all of this, David goes on to petition God to “cleanse [his] secret faults,” keep him from those who don’t pay attention to the limits of what’s allowed or is appropriate (and keep them from controlling him), and that he’ll “be blameless” (Vv. 12-13). He, then, prays that the words that come out of his mouth as well as what his heart ponders will be offered to the One Who saved him and keeps him safe as an offering…and that they would be acceptable before Him.
What He’s done for me is weighty!! He’s saved me and is still keeping me safe! Why would I put myself in a position where I’d slip off the cliff with my tongue and heart? I want to cling to Him and focus on His being my edge, the One Who saved me, who’s always been and always will be; He’s my safe place! Because He’s so good, I want to honor Him with my words that well up from my deep, secret places. Cleanse me, LORD! I want to join creation in using my words and thoughts to continuously give You glory…not just out in public, not in certain places, but everywhere!
1 DangerStikTV. (2020, January 2). S2, Episode Two: The Accident [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cY01H8UtSAU. *Warning: This does have some language in it.
2 Daily Mountain. “Climber Emily Harrington Rescued by ‘Free Solo’ Star Alex Honnold after Fall.” Mountainplanet.com, 2020, https://mountainplanet.com/blog/climber-emily-harrington-rescued-by-free-solo-star-alex-honnold-after-fall-7230#:~:text=years%20ago%20created-,Climber%20Emily%20Harrington%20rescued%20by%20’Free%20Solo’%20star%20Alex%20Honnold,Free%20Solo%E2%80%9D%20star%20Alex%20Honnold.