Jesus is our solid rock. Those words can roll off your tongue, especially if you are familiar with the Hymn—“On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand!” It’s quite another reality to let its truth sink into your mind and soul. Apparently God wanted to me have a rock lesson.
When I was 16, I had my first experience of rock climbing and repelling in Wyoming. I wasn’t crazy about the climbing, but I loved repelling. After the terrifying moment you leap off the cliff, you find your fears relieved as you lunge into a great adventure. If you are willing to let go of your fears and trust the ropes to hold you, you can feel the thrill and freedom of defying gravity. I often refer to this experience in counseling people as I tell them the only way to feel God’s love is make the leap of faith. In repelling the ropes don’t feel like much assurance when you are standing on the cliff. It’s only when you step off the cliff that you realize how strong the ropes are to hold you. In an effort to repel every decade of my life, I squeezed in a last minute trip. I went with rock climbers and soon discovered that repelling is not a sport to them, but they were kind to give into my desire to repel this decade.
I wondered about the kindness of a group to accept an unknown person with different aspirations to join their sacred climbing adventure. It seemed absurd that they would provide everything I needed to make the trip compared to the little they asked little of me in return. I know there are times when even we as the church are not that welcoming to strangers. When I got there, I found out that the group I joined was a church in a way. It is led by a climber who combines his love for climbing with his love for serving God. His ministry is Solid Rock Climbers for Christ (www.srcfc.org). I was overwhelmed by the kindness of the people I met.
Before the trip God led me to Acts 4:11: “He is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.” That was fresh on my mind as I interacted with the rock cliffs. The repelling was awesome; it gave me confidence to attempt to climb since everyone else thought that was the real fun . Though I couldn’t get very high—the climb was too difficult for a beginner—I understood the concept that my instructor tried to explain. The rock I was hanging from was just as sturdy and strong as the rock that was underneath his feet. He told me that I needed to trust the rock to hold me (even though I was hanging vertically). In order to go higher, I needed to believe that the rock had crevices (minute as they might be) that I could find to hang onto, and with the right effort I could use that rock surface to make it all the way to the top.
Peter’s name means rock, so I’m sure he would have been a rock climber if given the chance. He used the same quote in 1 Peter 2:6-8: For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame. Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and, A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.”
I stumbled on the rock I attempted to climb. I realize that many stumble on Jesus the solid rock. They just can’t see Him as the answer to all their questions. They don’t see what they are destined for. I stumbled as a rock climber because I didn’t understand the rock can hold me like the others did. I don’t stumble over the solid rock of Christ. I have complete confidence that He can hold me and that no matter what angle I come to Him; He offers me the same solid foundation. I may not be a mountain climber, but I am a rock climber. My life goal is to show others how to find Jesus as the sure foundation of their lives.