Water, in its natural state is still. I’ve always loved the part of Psalm 23 “He leads me beside still waters”. While I love a good wave at the beach, not much more calms me than a still body of water accompanied by complete silence. But the stillness and the silence can be interrupted by throwing a rock into the water. It makes a splash disrupting the stillness of the water and creating a ripple. But, eventually the water returns to a state of rest and peace. It’s almost like the water absorbs the energy and straightaway returns to a restful state.
The emotional ones are the ones that most of us deal with and attempt to navigate our lives around these boulders that get dropped on us in the middle of us just trying to do life, or trying to be STILL.
These rocks come in all shapes and sizes and when dropped into my stillness, serve as an emotional riptide. This riptide can destroy my quest for stillness and especially my desire to draw near to God.
The real ones also come in all shapes and sizes and are actually quite fascinating to me. I have had the privilege to travel quite a bit and I’ve been known to collect a rocks and they help me remember trips and the precious time I had with the people who chose to spend their time with me. Oftentimes, weeks, months or years later I find them in the most random places, usually the dryer or the floorboard of my car. I love the different textures and memories that go with them. I oftentimes have one in my pocket and I expend nervous energy rubbing my hand over the smoothness of the rock. Rocks are symbolic of strength to me, and I always want to remember to be strong.
In nature, rocks can serve as a natural boundary of protection. They can help nourish the ground or filter the water providing minerals for us. Rocks, in nature, are evidence of an intelligent designer. That being said, rocks can also cause damage, an avalanche can take out entire towns or villages. Gravity is sure to drop rocks in the most inopportune places, leaving the earth much different than it found it, and sometimes ending in tragedy.
The rock of disappointment and unmet expectations shakes the foundation of everything I believe. But in my quest to be still and depend on my forever God, I am trying to stop avoiding the rock of disappointment, I am trying to embrace it. I want to let it set boundaries, provide nourishment and maybe even protection from that which I don’t know, whatever avalanche that could occur had things gone my “way”. When I allow this rock to disrupt my complacencies and remind me of my forever God, it leaves a mark on my heart, leaving the landscape different than it found it. The mark from the rock of disappointment reminds me that I am not in control and that I never was in the first place. It’s hard to watch this rock drop into my stillness over and over again. I can only hope that it makes my heart more fertile for my relationship with my forever God. The tender place, the place in my heart that hurts from the impact, is a place where only my forever God can mitigate the pain.
And so I let it interrupt my stillness, because it drives me right back to it.
A close cousin to the rock of disappointment is the rock of loss. My heart should be used to that by now, but each loss still hurts, it unearths some previous cracks in my heart and drives me into performance mode. Performance mode and its fruit seems like it will replace that which was loss or taken from me. If I earn it, if I create it, if I work for it, then the rock of loss will not hurt, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Like its buddy, the rock of loss drives me back to stillness. If I let the rock leave it’s mark, my forever God is there to bind up that wound, because He is not unfamiliar with pain and loss. The rock of loss leads me to my forever God, because as people leave for whatever reason, and seasons change, my forever God does not. And, so the rock of loss drives me to Him, and while joy may not come until the morning, my rock of loss can not take away the fact that joy will, in fact, come. My weeping will only endure for the night.
Perhaps the rock that my enemy uses against me the most is the rock of unbelief. Despite all evidence to the contrary, when this rock drops, everything I have ever known about God to be true comes into question, even more so than the foundations of my faith being shaken like that of disappointment. It disrupts my stillness and that rip tide will absolutely overtake me, if I let it.
Jesus promised us that in this world we would have trouble. So, it should not surprise me that disappointment, loss and unbelief are going to interrupt my stillness. But He is THE ROCK that IS stillness and the firm foundation for boundaries, nourishment and protection for all the days of my life. He is the Rock that absorbs the shock of my stillness being interrupted. And if I let Him, my soul turns back to stillness straightaway.
And so on the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.