So it’s been about 17 months since my wife Susan and I relocated to Minneapolis, MN. We are still getting adjusted to all the changes: new church, new denomination, new city, new relationships, etc (and I won’t speak of winter!). I know we haven’t moved to a foreign country, but I don’t think we anticipated how challenging our move would be after so many years in NY and DC. We miss many people that we love, miss the convenience of traveling familiar routes on streets that we know, and certainly miss our children! Our four adult children (really five, counting our terrific daughter-in-law), are in GA, DC, NY, and TX—all pretty far from Minneapolis, MN! Skype is nice, but not quite the same as real life!
I suspect it is normal when one is in a new place to search out what is familiar. (I’m still searching for good NY-style pizza!). I recall being in Palestine and Israel with a group of people several years ago and at one point seeing the ubiquitous golden arches of McDonald’s. I didn’t want to eat there (but I had to go in just to see what it looked like). The same thing happened when we visited our daughter who was studying abroad in Italy a few years ago. The golden arches made me smile, probably because they are symbols of something familiar in a strange place (I also shook my head as I wondered if we are making other countries as fat as our own; but that’s for another discussion).
In my head I know that change is part of life, but when everything seems new, my emotions can make me feel anxious and uncomfortable. I long for something that is stable. Something that is constant. Something that is familiar. I find those things through my faith in Jesus. My faith in Jesus as Lord, reminds me to consider and reconsider an image of God that is pervasive in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). That image is of God as a rock. And that rock is not a pebble or small stone. God is pictured as a massive place of stability—like the Rock of Gibraltar that Prudential Insurance uses in its logo.
I have found myself refreshed recently by the image of God as rock. As a rock, God is consistently just:
The Rock, his work is perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God, without deceit,
just and upright is he (Deuteronomy 32:4)
As a rock, God is a place of refuge when all seems chaotic:
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge (2 Samuel 22:2-3a)
This week I have been reading Psalm 19 every day. It ends:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14)
My encouragement is that we meditate on the image of God as a rock. Think of the strength, the constancy, the stability, and the reliability that the image evokes. Consider that no matter where we are, no matter what we are called to do, God is ever-present and reliable. He is our rock.
(There’s another version by the late Whitney Houston for The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack).
“Where do I go, when there’s no foundation stable, I go the rock, I know he’s able…”