Shoshone Base Camp, the camp I worked at for many summers, was nestled deep in the heart of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. To the west of camp is a mountain, Uranus Peak. Jutting out from the mountain, that was otherwise covered in thick trees, was a single rock that was sure to offer a spectacular view of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.
The problem was, there was no defined trail up to the rock. And once on the mountain, the trees were so thick that you immediately lost sight of the rock, so, other than going up, navigating towards the rock was nearly impossible.
But, about once a summer, a group of adventurous staff would ford the river and make an attempt at finding that rock, certain that the views would be worth the climb. Out of at least six summers of trying, I only recall making it to the rock twice.
It was indeed well worth the effort and the view was absolutely spectacular.
If found, that rock became a sort of refuge from the long climb. We could take a seat and rest awhile before beginning the journey back down.
Scripture, especially the palms, refers to God as a rock. And when I consider such an image, I immediately think about that rock on Uranus Peak. A defining feature. Solid footing. A place of rest.
For some, this picture of God as rock is one of those images that has become something more like a placeholder. Perhaps it’s an idea that we’ve heard so often that that it no longer means very much.
But for others it brings up a question, how can the living Lord also be an inanimate object?
As with every picture of God we will consider this summer, no image is perfect. We need a variety of pictures of God. Because of course, God is more than a rock. God’s heart is not stone cold. God is not without feeling or activity.
But I think the picture of God as a rock offers a perspective the character of God that we need.
A rock is solid and strong. It provides security and makes a fortress or a place of protection. A rock offers shade from the sun, a hiding place from enemies, and a cover from the rain.
And don’t we all need that sometimes?
Grace and peace,