Roctober

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

My husband, Dave, and I helped at our church’s fall festival last weekend by working a game booth for the kids. The booth had an impossible game that no ball would conquer. Though it looked easy, most balls refused to go into the net. Well, after the first set of sad eyes of frustration, we made it our goal to entertain and encourage the kids as they came and to quickly reward their valiant effort. On occasion, we stepped in and magically helped a ball or two go into the net on the rebound. It was fantastic!

Our game booth was equipped with oodles of candy and little trinket toys to disperse to all the adorable costume clad children. One little superman boy came by several times trying to prove to himself that he could conquer the game. After a few rounds of candy, I offered him a toy – a gray squishy rock with the words on it – “God Is My Rock!”. That little guy’s eyes got huge as he looked at the rock and he said “Woah! That is awesome! I got a rock!” I heard him repeating that as he happily ran off to find his Mom. He was very, very impressed with that rock. The amazing thing is that I gave three more rocks away that day, and certainly did not get the same response from the others!

That experience of a little rock made me think about rocks this week. The word “rock” can mean many different things and used in various contexts.

I thoroughly enjoy me some good ROCK and roll music!

My world has been ROCKED several times in this lifetime, both in a magical way and in ways that made me fall to my knees.

I have regrets for moments where my mouth has thrown ROCKS instead of grace and love towards others.

Those ROCKY roads, ROCKY flights, ROCKY relationships, ROCKY jobs or ROCKY health issues have taught us thankfulness, patience, endurance, and given us wisdom from the journey.

But my favorite “rock” of all is knowing without a doubt in my mind, heart and soul, that God is my ROCK. He is a mighty and complete and deep and safe fortress from any storm and danger. He is my Savior, my Redeemer and my Stronghold.

If you want to really ROCK this October, then open up the Bible – the very Word of God, and read verses that talk about the quality of God as our Rock. Samuel, Isaiah, David – they all cry out to God – their Rock. Those men were certainly not perfect. In fact, they were far from it. But, their hearts longed for God. Think of David, an adulterer and a murderer, a man who completely messed up and sinned in ways we would look at as “big sins” – he confessed with a contrite heart, recognized his sin and ran to God.

The book of John tells a ROCK story:

“At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:2-11)

We are pretty good at throwing rocks – Christians and non-Christians alike. In fact, in our culture, it seems we think we grow taller and wiser as we hurl pebbles at “sin” in others. Look at this account of what Jesus did. Here a woman was brought in front of him who was caught in the very act of adultery. No question she was guilty. There are so many questions as I read this: Who had drug her out there? Was she even clothed? Was she crying tears of anger or shame or was she crying at all? Where was the man? We don’t know those answers. But what we do know is that there she was, standing alone in the middle of them. Them – the self proclaimed righteousness leaders, the pillars of the community armed with hypocrisy and crowd pleasing indignation over wrong. Them – the ones with rocks in hand. And as they stood ready to throw, one of them asked Jesus – what do you say we do?

I love how Jesus responds. Beyond wisdom we can’t even comprehend in moments of great turmoil and stress, He just kneels down and starts scribbling in the sand with his finger. What did he write? Did he write the names of the men in that circle that had committed adultery? Did he just doodle and give time for tempers to calm down? Did he write “she could be your daughter”. We don’t know what he wrote, but we do know the response of the men as they began to drop their rocks and walk away.

We are too civilized now days to throw pieces of granite. But, we can certainly hurl words that hurt and cast judgement in just a sentence. As we try to knock out the sin, we damage the heart.

Whether you feel as if you are standing in the middle of the circle or gripping the rock, Jesus writes your name. He doesn’t make anyone drop their rock, but always points to your own heart – check your own heart. Jesus knew the sin – that was obvious. Jesus knows our sin. That too is obvious. The answer is to pay attention to what Jesus writes and leave walk. Walk away from our life of sin.

Whatever definition of rock comes to your mind where you are in life today, I encourage you to own it, to claim it, to confess where you are to God. When we stop hiding and pretending we are perfect, when we stop keeping it all nicely tied together and juggling all the balls in the air and finally just plop down before God and say “here I am” – that is when He can and does work.

My prayer is: Gracious Lord God, may I lay down my ROCKS and show grace. When I walk through ROCKY patches of pain or sin, I pray I will ROCK in my faith and will offer ROCKIN’ worship that will honor and praise You, the one true God – my ROCK and my Redeemer.

“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” I Samuel 2:2

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