“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place.” “Take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Matthew 7:24-25; Hebrews 6:19; 2 Peter 3:17-18
We had finished our canoe trip, and having pulled our vessels to the sandy bank, my friends and I went back into the water to await the rest of our youth group. Bobbing and chatting, I lost my foothold, and within a split second, was swept into the raging current downstream. My efforts as a decently strong swimmer were no match against the power of the spring-swollen river. Think quick, grab a limb jutting from broken tree across the water ahead, here, hold! Ow! Hold! Bruised, breathless, I hoisted myself onto the tree, and waited for a human chain of hefty male teens to catch me when I jumped. In the moment, all was survival; once ashore, I realized I’d almost drowned. I’d been saved by God’s gracious hand, and by focusing on the immediate real and true, and holding on to what was solid.
We face dilemmas, churning opinions and advice and warnings, choking uncertainties beyond our control, harsh unyielding realities, and can feel as though we are drowning. Frustration and fears grip tight, our emotions churl, and we get swept up in a current away from what we know to be true: the sure foundation that God reigns, He is good, and on our side. The urgency of our emergency can cause panic, or we can grab hold of our certain Rock. When we keep our heads above the water, and our sights forward, our Lord delivers. He is immovable, His purposes sure. (Psalm 62:6-8,11-12; Isaiah 46:9-11; Romans 8:31)
What worry floods your thoughts? What disappointment overwhelms? What segments of information pull our emotions under to where we gasp for air and context? Where have the pressures of the urgent, or confusions of the present, caused us to forget what has tested time, and lose our footing of faith? When the torrent sucks and swirls, will we stay calm, keep our heads, and do the next right thing?
“My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in ev’ry high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, his blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand.” ~Edwards Mote (1834)
Lord, You are the shield round about me and the lifter of my head. Allelujah! (Psalm 3:3)