Our Rock

I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength in whom I will trust:

My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.”      

                                           Psalm 18:1-3

I have always found rocks fascinating. I have a problem passing them by without hefting them in my hand examine their color and texture. I have to really resist pocketing them and whisking them home with me. I often wonder what were they once part of?

Something much larger than what they have become or can imagine.

I have a favorite rock on the point of Block Island Sound. Every time I see it, I am allured by it’s tawny color flecked with black and gold. Glimmering and solid, soaking in the sun and salt.

I always look at my Dear Husband and exclaim, “Honey! Here’s my rock! Waiting for me just where I left it.” Of course since it is easily three and a half feet across and as thick, it surely isn’t going any where soon.

Naturally I always follow this exclamation with another which goes: “Honey! I wish I could take this rock home, it is so beautiful, it would be a perfect coffee table!” and my DH looks at me with the same pained expression each time…..wondering why a somewhat sane person needs to have to have every bit of nature she comes across for her own personal museum…..rocks, shells, bones, fossils, feathers etc…

I always linger at my rock and then I say, “For all I know this rock is actually the size of a grand piano, I guess it’ll never be in our living room,” as the waves wash over it, I run to catch up with DH whose heard it all before.

Recently on a Women’s Retreat I got to make a small pilgrimage with the women to these magnificent, albeit oddly placed rocks on the grounds of the retreat center. Five huge rocks perfectly spaced were plopped on a gradual incline on the glacial moraine only the Lord knows when.

Before we set out on this journey we learned of the different places we can meet God. On eagles wings, with him as our shield, under the shelter of his wings and so forth. The second I saw the photo of the place where Moses met the Lord, I felt an inward becalming, a small reunion welling up inside of me. My Rock.

We read this accompanying scripture where Moses asks the Lord if he may see Him Exodus 33:18-23

“And he said, “Please, show me “Your Glory”

Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me and live.”

And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that  I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”

We walked side by side in the dark of the evening leaving our comfy fellowship hall in the retreat center and ventured out into the mist.

The rocks are wide enough apart to be able to walk in between them to get to a small clearing just beyond them. We walked together with flash lights but when it came to passing through the cleft in the rock, we had to go it alone.

I was perfectly alright with this. In fact, though it was dark, I immediately thought the rocks would be soooo cool to have as living room walls! But some of the women were uncomfortable with going through the small space, feeling unsure in the dark, and disquieted by having to take their turn and go it alone.

I felt uniquely calmed by it. It reminded me of how I long for the mountains of California, their stark angles and imposing grandeur, never failed to astound me. Surrounded by red rock an ever warming vista. The top of the canyon with coyotes and rattlers. The annual migration of the tarantulas -open the back door and and they march due east through the front doors. The upended rocks from the constant but undetectable earthquakes. Geology is alive, the earth awake.

Rocky outcroppings soaring at impossible angles, incongruous to equilibrium, dwarfing those who boldly slam their car doors and stride right up to what they have been aiming toward for miles. Dwarfed to humbled, humbled to halted.

Our God, our Rock is as incongruous and majestic as these geological wonders we encounter every day. Lasting and comforting. Stable and imposing. Grand and mystifying.

Humbled we are before Him.

David the Psalmist, wrote Psalm 18, a song of praise to our Lord, who delivered him from the hands of David’s mortal enemy. He calls God “my Rock” over and over.

verse 46

The Lord Lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.

verse 31-32

For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.

I suppose David, who was on the run from his enemy Saul and Saul’s armies, spent a lot of time hiding in mountains, living in caves, scrambling down ravines, plotting behind rocky outcroppings, escaping through canyons. Rocks were his literal protection.

But he knew that ultimately God saved him. Over and over and gave him the glory in his beautiful songs of praise. He knew the dependability of God, like a mighty mountain, God is larger, stronger, than any problem he could face. David leaned heavily upon God, the Rock and deliverer.

On retreat our teacher pointed out what she gleaned from watching us traverse up to and through the cleft in the rocks:

“Our walk with the Lord is quite similar. We walk along with others, drifting from one group to another, helping each other. We reached the point where the rocks diverge and in order to go through to the clearing we have to do it alone. But infact we are never alone. Our Lord is with us.”

It was a poetic insight to our journey here on earth.

God is our foundation, solid strong ever bearing. We build our lives on His mercy, we construct our faith on the Word He still speaks to us each day.

Like all the soil and sand we so blithely discount, it is made from what was once rock. Plant a seed in the ground, and watch it grow, feeding on the mineral and trace elements from the soil that was once rock. Eat this plant and be nourished by what was once soil from what was once rock. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sodium and so on.

Our God, our Rock is our soul’s nutrition. Lean on the Rock, Learn from the Rock, feed from the Rock, stand in the cleft of the Rock and be protected.

Lash yourself to the Rock, our constant fortress.

Father,

We thank you that you are always constant. Always available. Always faithful, strong and immediate.

Amen!

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