In winter, the landscape is barren of leaves and flowers forcing my eyes to look for different shapes around me and the artistry they reveal. Clearly the silhouettes of the trees draw my eyes skyward, especially in early spring as I’m watching for swelling buds and flowers to offer up a cloud of color in the sky where for months it has only been gray.
One of the more noticeable features of the Piedmont, NC area is the presence of giant glacial rocks. Nothing but the force of nature could have moved these boulders into place. They are often 10-15 feet high and 20 feet wide. One of them I dubbed the whale as it looks like this giant cetacean is sleeping in the woods.
Rocks are sitting targets for climbing. King of the mountain was a game we all enjoyed as children. Last week I spoke about my penchant for climbing on rocks in rivers. But on land, it is a similar pastime. While many of the rocks along the greenway have signs posted to NOT climb and play on them, I’m afraid it doesn’t work, even when parents are around. These rocks are irresistible to a child. I get it. It’s dangerous and the neighbors don’t want the liability. I’m sure the signs stop some, but not all as I can attest on many walks. Part of me still wants to stand on top of the rock myself! And if given half a chance, my pup and I will climb on top of any rock that is not dangerous.
There is something comforting about these huge rocks. So are the mountaintops that are formed of sheer rock. They are immovable. That steadiness and solidity is appealing in a changing world. I’m not sure what makes us want to climb to the top of a rock or mountain, but the popularity of rock wall climbing has skyrocketed, and people still scramble up mountain paths to reach the rocky summits. Some of the mountain paths I’ve walked are solid rock with a network of tree roots covering the rock face.
The Bible has quite a lot to say about God being our Rock. On Him our feet are always on solid ground. Shifting sands and uneven ground are difficult to navigate. When I walk on the beach, I tend to stay near the water’s edge because it’s easier going where the sand is firm. Psalm 40 talks about God removing our feet from the miry clay and setting them upon a rock. How often I have felt stuck and needed the Lord to put me back on a solid path. In the mountains, a rocky path is time consuming to navigate. But I always feel a sense of accomplishment if I climb a mountain that ends in a bold rock face. Standing on the solid rock makes me feel secure. That is the way we are meant to think about Jesus. Solid, immovable, unchanging and everlasting. Those are reassuring words.
One of my favorite scripture passages describes Jesus as the living Stone. We are told He is the cornerstone, the capstone as well as the living Stone. And we, like living stones are being built into a spiritual dwelling with Jesus as the cornerstone.* What a magnificent thought!
So the next time you are out and see these wondrous rocks, remember that you have been given a personal rock, Jesus, on which to stand, the fortress in which to hide and the cornerstone of how you can build your life. He is the one unshakable constant that never changes, never gives up on us, always loves, and redeems us from ourselves — the Rock of ages.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.
Psalm 18:2 NLT
*1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV