Last week, I was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan doing a great deal of hiking and being reminded that the Lord is the perfect artist who creates beautiful scenery. I had the privilege of eating lunch, sitting on a rock in the Porcupine Mountains, overlooking the Lake of the Clouds. My almond butter sandwich tasted much better as I looked at my surroundings. In the Lord’s artistry there are beautiful rocks, trees, lakes, rivers, creeks, and waterfalls. What a joy to be able to walk the trails and enjoy his creation! On occasion, there are unusual things that meet you on the trail. The picture I’ve included in this blog is just that-an unusual thing.
As I looked at this, I began to think about what was being shown to me. The life of a follower of Christ was being displayed right before my eyes. Let me develop my thought process for you. I hope that you will be encouraged.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2
The rock in the picture represents the Lord. It’s large and not easily moved. We are too weak to push it over or pick it up. It’s secure in where it stands. The Lord provides security for all who will trust in him. We know that he always has our best interest in mind and is sovereign over all of life’s circumstances. All growth can take place with confidence in the one to whom we are connected. The Lord, our rock, provides the protection we need on a day to day basis. We can rejoice in the fact that our life is built on the rock.
We are not always reaching for the sun as we grow. There are times when life gets hard. The circumstances that hit us are hard to bear. We may be facing a physical ailment, financial problems, death in the family, car problems, disobedient children, or aging parents. All of these are hard circumstances but the rock on which our life is built is harder. We need to hang on to the rock in order to make it through. Notice how the tree on top of the rock has wrapped a root around the rock and buried itself in the ground. This is how we should hang on to our Lord, the rock, when times are hard. We must reach around him and he’ll provide the strength we need in the same way the soil provides more nourishment for the tree.
“…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ…” Ephesians 3:17b-19a
We need the nourishment of the love of Christ. When our roots are deep in that love, it gives us the strength to love others. Love should flow naturally from each and every follower of Christ. We also receive nourishment from the love of our fellow believers as they come along side us to care for us. Without love, our growth will be stunted! We need to hang onto the rock, rooted in the love of Christ and the church.
If we were to just look at this picture, we might think the tree doesn’t have much of a chance to survive; but God made a way for its survival. God always makes a way for each one of us to survive in this world. His goal for us is that we seek to please him each day, seeking to look more like Christ. We can’t give up in the face of discouragement, pain, or sorrow. Remember our roots run deep in the love of Christ! When times are hard, hang onto the rock. We know that he is immovable, unshakeable, and unstoppable!
Keep your eyes open to see the Lord’s artistry! You never know how he will use it to reveal to you more about himself.