Finding Rock:: Sharing Rock

I suppose a single girl being incredibly blessed and inspired at a wedding sounds like the beginning of a joke.

You know, “a single girl walks into a wedding, and…..”

I attended the wedding of dear friends over the weekend. Their love and adoration for each other was beautiful. But even more beautiful was their desire for lots of God-glory to happen. And it did. In their selected music, in the message, and in their prayer time.

It had been, you know, a week. An inauguration with a nation holding its breath. Continued arguments and opinions and ongoing noise over pandemics and politics and social issues.

But then, this pastor gets up at the wedding, and he’s passionate and hopeful and inspiring, and I could’ve wept. It seems like so many Christians are tired, disillusioned, disappointed, grieved, burdened and angry. I don’t think I realized how much it had gotten to me till this pastor started speaking. I can’t even tell you what all he said, but I can tell you that he’s excited about being a Christ follower, and about being part of Christ’s bride, and that’s what I’ll remember from his message.

We live in a fallen, broken world so we will be disappointed, discouraged and sometimes even disillusioned, because of our circumstances and even because of other Christians. But I think when the whole kit and kaboodle of us become this dismal lot, it’s going to do something to Gospel/Kingdom morale, and I’m scared of the effects especially on the young Christians who are just starting their walk with God.

I wonder if finding rock (see previous posts for definition), doesn’t organically morph into sharing rock at some point. I didn’t need another compelling argument for or against masks, on the horrors of Trump’s presidency and the impending gloom of Biden’s. I needed a reminder that being a Christ follower, with all of it’s challenges and hardships, is the most satisfying thing a person can be, and there’s happiness and excitement within that.

As I think back on Christian heroes who’ve lived through the ages (and I’m telling, you, I’m hanging on to these people and to their God for dear life right now), two things ring true throughout:

  1. their joy and stability weren’t determined by their circumstances
  2. their joy and stability weren’t determined by other people.

Regardless of what Dr. Fauci or President Biden, or random Facebook user says or issues or decrees, my hope is in God. Regardless of how other Christians are responding to these events, my hope is in God. My greatest temptation towards discouragement and disillusionment is when I’m too invested in either group instead of in my hope.

So maybe this week, be the Christian who:

  • speaks randomly and frequently about the goodness of God showing up in some part of life
  • speaks appreciatively of what we enjoy instead of constantly on what we’re being deprived of
  • smiles widely so that you can’t miss it, even while wearing a mask (if your situation requires it)

And maybe, just maybe you’ll give rock to a bewildered,young Christian, or to a tired, older Christian.

Because I think finding rock means sharing rock.

Vicki

Rock finding:: Glory Gazing

A thread I see woven through the history of faithful people who navigated crisis’ was their ability to see beyond the present and the surrounding evil and darkness. I’m sure Daniel was acutely aware of the lions, Jesus, of the bloodthirsty religious leaders, Corrie ten Boom of the imminent Nazi soldiers and Jim Elliot of the prospect of spears and death. But somehow, while they lived with these very real realities, they were focused on something else.

How we do that today is something I’m still pondering. One thing I’m learning is that I don’t have to keep abreast of every scandal, or news event, whether Christian or otherwise. And seriously, that pretty much means turning off the news and logging off of social media. I don’t think we were meant to carry the staggering load of pain and problems that we’re exposed to on these mediums, and take them all on personally. I wonder if sometimes disengaging on a broader scale leaves us with more energy and clarity to interact with what is right in front of us.

I’m going to do that this week, and I encourage anyone who is overwhelmed or discouraged to give it a try as well. We sang this song at church this morning and I want to spend some time on this instead:

The sands of time are sinking, THE DAWN of HEAVEN BREAKS; the summer morn I’ve sighed for, the fair sweet morn awakes, DARK, DARK hath been the midnight, but DAYSPRING is at hand; and glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

Oh Christ He is the fountain, the sweet, deep well of love, the scenes on earth I’ve tasted, more deep I’ll drink of love. There to an ocean fullness, His mercy doth expand, and glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

The bride eyes not her garment but her dear bridegroom’s face; I will not gaze at glory, but on my King of grace; not at the crown He giveth, but on his pierced hand, the Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.

Regardless of the creaks and groans of a sin-ridden earth, there is a Lamb, a Fountain, a Well of Love, and a Dawn Breaking. Daniel, the martyrs, Corrie ten Boom, the Elliots all experienced them, and they are our reality as well. We just have to choose to see it.

Something else I like to do is play a song a couple times right before I go to sleep and often I’ll wake up with it in my head. You could choose any song, but here’s one that I woke up with this morning, after playing it repeatedly after one of you sent it to me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR2w871JcMlMB8jCAAalZsZV5k-_e-SPk7wX99t38FubKnz8WOa-p2LUKW4&v=hkLAhmEgDgE&feature=youtu.be

Courage, dear heart!

Vicki

Finding Rock

image from pexels.com

I’m supposed to be in Africa right now, eating potato greens and reconnecting with a people and a place that I love very much. But I’m not. I’m here at my house and these are my realities:

  • The hospital up the road is completely overwhelmed with sick people and COVID and there is one ambulance servicing my entire county. Surrounding hospitals are full as well. Doctors and nurses who have been working so hard and selflessly are tired, and there’s not much good on the horizon on that front.
  • An influential and popular apologist who I appreciated for his graciousness and commitment to communicating the Gospel was revealed to have another side. A side no one knew about.
  • The government seems to be turning on each other and the whole thing feels like a house of cards, ready to crumble. Scenes from the seat of American government yesterday were not so dissimilar from the beloved African country.

Honestly, if the meteorologist would predict an invasion of grasshoppers tomorrow, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Are we all losing our minds? Both separately and collectively?

How do we live with all that? How do we live when everything that is supposed to represent safety and security is rocked and is shaking violently? I’ll admit- I walked around yesterday afternoon in a daze. I’m concerned-for America, for the church, for all of us.

These national crisis’s have a way of exposing just exactly what is inside our hearts in ways that aren’t possible during normal times. I’ve felt the quiet nigglings of things inside my own that haven’t been right. And then to see the hearts of others, in moments of extreme emotion, thrown out and exposed on social media is painful to watch. Everyone is seeing each other in new ways, and that brings its own set of disquiet and angst.

My friends can attest to my anguished, tearful messages and conversations over the past months. The angst and the disquiet and the disappointment. I’m no hero at this crisis stuff and I’m shaken just as much as you are. But, the most special and even sacred memories of 2020 were the friends who didn’t just listen to me, but who spoke Scripture and words of truth to me. They sent me rock finding.

The psalmist says it this way in Psalm 61: “from the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Eric Ludy calls it getting rock beneath your feet. I highly encourage this message for context.

The idea is that in moments of crisis, our first instinct is to get on solid footing. To reach for what has been true throughout the ages, and then to hang on tight. This is the stuff that sat with Daniel that night in the lion’s den, and carried the martyrs to their graves. It is the stuff that helps you go to sleep at night in the middle of multiple crisis’, and not have fear. This rock stuff has not been carried by one specific denomination or one theology profile, but by faithful people throughout the centuries who were hungrier and thirstier for God than for anything else.

Getting rock beneath your feet doesn’t always mean standing on boulders. Sometimes, it’s smaller chunks of gravel, stepped on in faith that carry you through a crisis.

If you’re struggling today, I prayed for you. I prayed for us. We will get through this. One chunk of gravel that I’m standing on is the truth that God has never lost control in the history of forever, and there is nothing that catches Him by surprise. And the other bit of rock under my feet is the fact that in these moments of unique anguish and pain that we may likely never experience again, there is a God who comforts and holds close in unique ways that we may never feel again.

I hope to do more rock finding on my blog the next little while, as a way of encouraging us all. I have a Written Down Big Facebook page that I hope to update as well. And if you’re really struggling and not doing well, please reach out to someone for help. I’ll leave my email address in the comments.

Vicki