Feb 6 2013

My Mighty Rock

DT-vI usually read a few Psalms before going to bed each night.  Last night I happened to read Psalm 61 and 62.  It didn’t take long to find a common denominator in these two psalms.  In both David compares God to a rock.  In Psalm 61 he says, “lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”  Vs. 2b-3)  In Psalm 62 he writes, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (vs. 1-2)  In this second psalm David repeatedly uses this image.  In v. 7 he says “My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.”

The imagery of God as a rock is a meaningful one.  Historically, high rocks have been viewed as places of refuge and even fortresses.  One might climb a rock for safety when the flood waters rise.  One might also find protection there from other dangers.  These days we may have other places we turn to for safety in floods or times of danger but we still understand the idea.  It is not hard to see how high rocks might be viewed as safe havens.

GT-Snake-River-OverlookNor is it hard to see how still today God might be compared to a rock.  God brings stability to our lives.  That is no small thing in the world in which we live!  God also is someone we can turn to when the floods of life come our way or when we find ourselves in times of trouble.  Martin Luther recognized.  One of the hymns he wrote begins with the words, “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing, our present help amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.”

Yosemite-reflection-759I am very thankful to have the rocklike presence of God in my life. In God I find the refuge I need in times of trial or sorrow.  In God I find a fortress or place of protection in life’s dangerous moments.  In more ways than one I would be lost were it not for “the rock that is higher than I.”  I happen to live in the mountains where there are a lot of high rocks.  I’ve also been privileged to travel to several places and photograph amazing rock formations and towers.  All of these serve as visual reminders to me of the true source of security and salvation in my life.  All of these remind me of the “solid rock” upon which I stand.

For these reminders, and the many others presented to us in Creation, I offer my gratitude.

–Chuck

(I took the top image at Devils Tower National Monument, the middle image at Grand Teton National Park, and the bottom image at Yosemite National Park.)


Oct 14 2012

A Strong Tower

 

“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”  Psalm 61:3

A couple of days ago I had a chance to visit Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. Even though I had been there before, the sight of Devils Tower rising from the earth still impressed me. From the pictures shown here some of you may recognize Devils Tower as the formation that was featured in the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” It has, however, other claims to fame. This park was declared the first national monument in the United States in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt. It is also considered a sacred place by many native Americans.  Some people come to Devils Tower not to view or photograph it but to climb it. 

The monolith known as Devils Tower rises 867 feet from its base and stands 1,267 feet above the river and 5,112 feet above sea level. I’m not sure how this great tower came to be known as “Devils Tower” but I know that seeing it made me think of someone else–the God who made it. Throughout the Scriptures God is often referred to as a “strong tower” or “place of refuge.”  Viewing Devils Tower I was reminded how God truly has been “a strong tower” in my life, as well as a place of refuge.

The world we live in is ever-changing and unpredictable. Sometimes we can feel afraid in the midst of life’s constant changes and uncertainties.  A lot of people live with anxiety because there doesn’t seem to be anything to hold on to, anything that is constant and unchanging, in our chaotic and turbulent world. I’m not sure there is anything we can hold on to help but I do know that there is Someone we can hold on to. In one of the great hymns we are reminded “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”  The contemporary chorus, “Shout to the Lord,” likewise refers to Christ as our “my comfort, my shelter,  tower of refuge and strength.” 

I truly do give thanks for the stability and security God brings to my life.  As strong and mighty as Devils Tower appears to be, it does not begin to compare with the strength and might of the One who made it.  Nor does one have to go to Wyoming to find the strong tower and refuge that is God. The Solid Rock is available wherever you are.  All you have to do is call out for Him and He is there.  That’s His promise, not mine, but I have discovered it is true.  I hope you have as well.

–Chuck