Rock of Ages

I’ve always joked that if God gave me a son, I’d send him back. Say what you want about the perks of having boys; I’m terrified of them. My long history of babysitting girls has only fostered and reinforced my dream of someday having a pair of twin girls, because I like painting nails, baking cookies and things that sparkle.

This week I’ve been watching ALL boys, and let me tell you, it has been an experience. I thought my ignorance with regard to relating to the male species was limited to those within my general age category, but this week I have discovered otherwise. The way they eat, the way they play, the way they throw on what they deem an “outfit” – I find it all so peculiar. I think God is going to make me a mother of boys so the whole watching world can have one giant laugh.

However, this week I have slowly adjusted to – and dare I say it, maybe even started to love – some things about boys, and just kids in general. It’s the way they clothe themselves in pj shorts, yesterdays t-shirt and a pair of cowboy boots. It’s the way they take off riding their bicycles through the streets, fearless. It’s the sweet innocence of a heart not yet familiar with the things going on outside their front doors.

Today we went on a walk to the creek at the request of the four year old. He threw down his bike and immediately ran down to examine the moss. When he came back up, he plopped himself down in a big pile of rocks, and began to pick them up one by one, inspecting each of them carefully. I stood next to him, holding the baby, thinking to myself that had these children been girls, we’d be mid french braid, but instead, there I was, standing in a giant pile of rocks in the 90 degree heat.

Something in my heart stirred as I watched that boy play, and I remembered the earth sciences course I’ve been taking this semester. More specifically, I thought of all I have been learning about geology, rocks and their formations in particular. Through a process of sediment building up layer by layer, as this sediment is exposed to rough conditions, heat, pressure, and change, rocks are formed. And as I thought of the way that God made rocks, I thought also of how He made people.

He made us like rocks – different shapes, sizes and colors – and layer by layer, year by year, He builds us and breaks us, exposing us each to different conditions, and by means of heat, pressure, and change, we are molded and formed into people that show signs of weathering.

I think today we’re quick to identify what makes us different from someone else, whether its our beliefs, experiences, opinions or our lifestyle choices. But what we fail to remember is the thing that makes us all more strikingly similar than we think: none of us are exempt from the elements; we will all be exposed to fires in this life. I can think of no better example than on a day like today, 9/11, which remembers the near 3,000 people whose lives were taken. Pain is universal. Every single day, we are walking beside hundreds of hurting people, each walking though their own fires, and today, I feel that burden for the thousands that I know are mourning around the world. Behind each name on that list are real friends and family members experiencing real feelings of real grief. And it’s a grief I understand, as four days from now marks the anniversary of my own brother’s death.

I know I say this a lot here, but it’s a harsh, harsh world we are living in. The little girl who once joked about raising her own children in it never imagined what a bitter place this earth would come to be. So today as I walk the neighborhood streets with two boys in tow, sun shining bright on my face, the Lord whispers and reminds me that He’s coming soon, and I plead with Him that His concept of soon might somehow align with mine. But in the meantime, I rejoice that I hope in a God who snatched me from the grip of death and gifted me eternal life. I pray that you hope in Him as well, and that hope would drive us all to more compassionate, loving, authentic life with one another. I know that my words here can’t change hearts or situations, but God can.

Because I believe in a God whose timing is perfect. I believe in a God who can keep planes from crashing and buildings from falling and babies from drowning. I believe in a God who can create, prolong, and spare life. I believe in a God who can prevent abortion from working. I believe in a God who can heal. I believe in a God who can rescue. I believe in a God who can, even if He does not.

In a day when things feel so dark and hopeless, it is my constant prayer that we would fix our eyes on the One who is always the same. His character is constant when this world is not, and as I search the Psalms for hope today, I see over 18 different ones that reference Jesus as our refuge…as our rock.

 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”

Isaiah 26:4