We have been doing a Lent course of study at church and we have been looking at different episodes in Jesus’ 40 days in the wildnerness. Last night we looked at the time when Satan tempted him to turn rocks into bread, and we looked in a bit more detail what it meant to “be a rock”, and having rocky places in our lives we would like to change amongst other things.
It struck me that there is a lot to the phrase “you are my rock”, or “he was my rock through that”. On the face of it, being a “rock” in times of trouble is a positive thing: steadfast, sure, true, unwavering, unchangeable, secure etc. But what if those qualities exist when there isn’t trouble as such, could they be interpreted as perhaps stubborn, unchangeable in its negative sense or even as a blockage?
If you think about it, rocks come in many shapes and sizes – just like people. They can be big towering places of strength, or they can be small, solid or full of holes, be round and smooth or have jagged, hard edges. Rocks can be multi-layered and can be formed under huge pressure. They can also be flaky and brittle, breaking apart under the smallest of stresses.
Rocks can be used to build shelters, or they can be used to build dams. They can be hewn into shape to make smaller ones that fit together in a wall, or they can be sculpted by the artist to reveal the beauty within.
When we got home, and thinking about the times when I have needed a rock in my life, or when perhaps I might have been a rock to someone else, I talked to my son Ethan about it. He’s 16 years old, and in many ways a typical teenager, but he offered a piece of insight that I hadn’t thought of before. He pointed out that rocks can also weigh things down. It made me think that perhaps being a “rock” to someone in times of trouble isn’t always the safety, security and surety that I think I’m offering and maybe I have weighed the down with my attitude or response to their crisis. He also made me think that possibly, quite possibly, my own troubles have been a millstone round someone else’s neck and have weighed them down too.
So how do you see it? Are you a “rock” to someone, offering security and steadfastness in the midst of a crisis, or are you the other type of rock, the porous type that lets water run through you? Are you the type of rock that offers shelter from the storm, or are you the rock that weighs someone down and stops them moving on? Or are you the rock upon which foundations can be built? Where people can depend on you to be firm even when the storm comes and the floods rise up?
You might be the rock that has been sculpted with brutal tools to reveal the beauty inside. Or you may be like me and are still a work in progress in our creator’s hands.
Who do you depend on? Who is your rock?
Please listen to this, it’s a lovely song and I’m sure you can guess my answers to those questions when you’ve heard it.