There is a rock outside the church we attend. It’s a huge sort of how-in-the-world did that-big-thing-get-there boulder. It shoots out of the ground with no apparent means or logic. Whether it grew in place or if someone somehow planted it there no one knows.
And every Sunday after church kids swarm to the rock to climb, scrape knees, and terrify their watching parents.
“Meet you at the rock, Bro,” says a little friend to my 6-year-old grandson. They agree with an adult-ish wink and thumb’s up before they part for different classes.
My daddy-son has admitted to using, bribing and promising the rock’s usage to inspire his three little boys in the getting-to-church process. From home to church repeats through the centuries as one of the great challenges of parenthood. But hey, our church has the rock.
Sooner or later, the correlation of a big gray rock, with its multitude of little people hanging off its edges outside of a church building each week, cannot be ignored. It simply has to be a reminder of Another Rock. One safer and higher. One we cling to.
“Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Ps. 61: 1-2 (David) NKJV
David knew to whom He prayed. His cry went up from a place which might even be the end of the earth, yet not at all off God’s radar. The emotions of our hearts are never on foreign soil to Him. God is familiar with each one, and He cares.
When my heart is overwhelmed. Sometimes I am afraid and ashamed of the overwhelmed-ness of my heart. The sinking sand of emotions and dark waves spilling over my spirit are something a mature believer shouldn’t struggle with, I think. But I do, and apparently David did too.
He was the same David who with five small stones and a sling full of confidence in God, confronted a giant. The same long ago young boy who dared to declare, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45 NKJV
And God delivered him. Over and over again. He reached about as high as any man could go. He was King. He had power, riches, and honor. A grown man, no longer with stones in his pocket but a giant’s sword at his hip, came to God sad and overwhelmed.
“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,” he prayed.
This Rock bids us to leave behind our egotistical “I’ve got this,” “I can do this on my own,” or “I know what I’m doing.” It is the Rock that takes my overwhelmed self, and places me under the shelter of God’s wings, covered, and lifts me high. He puts solid stability under feet that would sink. He sets my vision where I can see farther and broader, above and beyond.
A line of parents head to the rock after church, clenched in one adult hand are Sunday School papers that flap in the breeze. In the other a child’s is firmly grasped, pulled at by skipping dancing feet.
Tiny beings reach the foot where it rises colossal out of the green grass. Let go they run for the heights ahead. Princesses dressed in tule like pink bouncing clouds, boys in buttoned shirts and slicked back hair scramble like mountain goats.
At the bottom moms thick with more babies and busy fathers stop to converse about their jobs. But their eyes stay toward the rock where their children climb.
Midstream chats break with, “Do you see Luca?” “That’s high enough.” “No, Enzo stay away from the edge!!”
In the older crowd, the dizzying rock inspires under breath humming. A men’s quartet takes residence in my head with “Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” It shares space with, “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.”
David’s song in Psalm 61 begins with a sad melody but ends in uplifting praise. He remembers who God is, a shelter, a strong tower, a heritage. He speaks truth of past faithfulness into his present need.
“So I will sing praise to Your name forever, that I may daily perform my vows.” Psalm 61:8 NKJV
“Time to go,” the calls begin at the base of the rock.
Oh how those children love that big stable unmovable rock so much higher than they are.
Safe parental hands extend, bidding them to come. Trusting little ones connect like a magnet. We head for the car, a little relieved and a bit nostalgic to leave the rock for another week.
How is your heart today? Is it like the Psalmist’s overwhelmed with emotion, sadness, or fear? There is a Rock. Jesus reaches down His nail scarred hand to lead us there. A song of praise will come.
linda k williamson
A song of praise will come if we open our eyes and ears to see and hear. If only we all could view the world thru a child’s eyes It just might be a better happier place!
Thanks Linda for sharing that thought. You are right, wouldn’t it be nice to view the world through a child’s eyes…at least for a glimpse!
SO appreciate this reminder of the ROCK that is HIGHER than I! Every day we can count on the LORD to be our ROCK!!! What a SAVIOR!!! Blessings on your day, dear friend!!
Thank you Marilyn! He is a Rock, and I’m so grateful for the Solid Hope!
The Rock that’s Higher! Our church has the ROCK! We find there safety and stability, but also adventure and sometimes terror. While climbing the Rock IS safe, it does not always FEEL safe. We feel afraid and ashamed of the overwhelmed-ness of our hearts. But eventually we will hopefully find the High Places where our hearts are no longer Much Afraid, but have grown into Grace and Glory, aided by Sorrow and Suffering, and can lead others to the High Places we have ascended. We can live upon the Rock that is Higher!
Thanks so much for your comment Lois. You bring an interesting perspective of assisting one another through our growth. I like that!
Thank you so much, Sylvia. I am often encouraged by the way that you address everyday struggles. It helps to know that others face some of the same things I do, even when it’s “something a mature believer shouldn’t struggle with, I think”. Thanks, too, for mentioning Mom in your reunion post. It is always sweet to hear that she is missed and not forgotten.
Charlotte, it’s so special to hear from you. I am glad you relate…even if its to some of my confession times! I miss your Mom and still find myself thinking at times, how much she would enjoy something or other. And how we would laugh. She isn’t forgotten. Thanks for commenting!
I loved your analogy with the BIG rock and the “rock that is higher.” We know who is our rock, our foundation, our Savior, our Lord. When I picture parents and grandparents watching their children on the rock, giving warnings of danger, and taking hands as they climb down to safety, I think of our Lord watching over us in that same way. Thank you for this inspiring message, Sylvia.
Thank you Katherine. You are such an encouragement! I too have thought how like the Lord in His watching over us. Appreciate you reading and taking the time to respond.
Rev. Andrew brucato
rock on Silvia!
Made me laugh Andy! Thank you!
Nancy E. Head
What a beautiful post, Sylvia. Perhaps every church should order up a big rock–one taller than us all. A wonderful picture!
Thanks Nancy! A rock in front of every church would be a statement, wouldn’t it!!
“The sinking sand of emotions and dark waves spilling over my spirit are something a mature believer shouldn’t struggle with, I think. But I do, and apparently David did too.”
You consistently craft words that give us a transparent picture of your heart and your struggles. Thank you, Sylvia. Your words are an encouragement today.
Thank you Andee. I am grateful you found it encouraging. Thanks so much for reading and commenting…it is an encouragement to me as well!
What a gift your church has with that rock to inspire play time and reminders of our solid rock of Christ. Thanks for sharing these memories.
Thank you Barbara! I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!
Oh how I love the Rock- MY Rock- Jesus! Thank you for sharing and helping me to appreciate a new meaning for the rock at church. I pray our children always cling to it.
I guess you had the picture clearly in mind! Thanks so much Brenda! We’ll have to meet at the rock and have a chat some Sunday!
The metaphor of Jesus as my rock and redeemer is so apt and one of my favorites. I love your presentation of this message — especially like the paragraph about leaving my ego behind
I’m glad you enjoyed it. The truth of Jesus Rock and Redeemer is such a comfort to me. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
Sylvia, I wish I could remember who introduced me to your blog. I haven’t read many of your posts over the last several months but this one caught my eye because you were quoting my life verse and my name literally means “lurer to the rocks” but sanctified, I say “Lurer to THE Rock” 😀
I responded to the Lord’s invitation to walk with Him 54 years ago. I left His path/His side for a bit but He’s the sweetest Shepherd. This post truly hit home as the part of the path we are traveling is particularly rough. My husband of 25 years went from bowling weekly in mid-January to spending 76 days in 4 medical facilities with stage-IV lung cancer, brain metastases that have left him without the ability to stand or walk and an auto immune disease derived from his one and only chemo treatment. He is now home in hospice care/my care. He is my refuge, my Rock, a very present help in trouble. There are days my ankles are feeble but He steadied my steps. Thank you. Printing this so I can reread on the tough days.
Thank you so very much for sharing this with me, Lorelei. I am more than humbled God should use this post in your life. I am so very sorry for the pain you must be going through, yet in it how grateful I am that God is your refuge, Rock and very present help in trouble. I am grateful He steadies your steps even when your ankles are feeble. This testimony of His goodness in your life right now has blessed me and encouraged me more than you can know. Thank you. To God be the Glory.
Sylvia, from the first couple lines of your post, I’ve been singing one of my favorite worship songs. We need to know there’s something beyond ourselves, don’t we? Though we’re so prone to self-reliance, we quickly find ourselves in hot water with the Rock.
So I keep wondering which worship song! I know there are so many about the Rock, and every Sunday walking past the rock various lines come to my mind. Thanks Annie!
So many lessons from that rock Ms. Sylvia. I wonder what stories it could tell. “When the faithful old man was six, he finally succeeded to climbing to my top. Oh, the confidence it gave him. The lesson in perseverance I taught. He tried for two years; skinning knees, scraping knuckles, yet he kept striving to reach my top. Oh, how excited I was to feel him achieve his goal.” I think God feels the same way when we keep reaching out in prayer. God’s blessings ma’am.
Love your perspective! I’m sure God is pleased when we reach out to Him in prayer. Thanks so much for reading J.D. I always love hearing from you.
Thank you for this post Sylvia. I needed to be reminded of this truth today! Jesus is my ROCK and I can trust him in all areas of my life.
Thanks so much Marina. Can’t tell you how much it means to me to hear from you! He is indeed worthy of all trust in all areas. Keep clinging to the Rock!