Rocky Shores and Firm Foundations
Looking back from the sea, this lobsterman can visually grasp the firm foundation of our great state. Maine has magnificent rock formations from its mountain ranges and slate and granite quarries to its rockbound coast with rugged, beautiful cliffs and outcroppings that hang jagged and high over the Bold Coast trail in Cutler. Pink granite boulders are piled callously along the eastern shore of Frenchmen’s Bay. Grindstone and Stonington boast large, contoured rocks washed smooth and flat by centuries of tides and through which black larval veins run. Smaller, springy, rounded, large stones populate a stony shore on the Schoodic Peninsula, while curious, brown and green jasper rocks comprise a beach in Machiasport, and barnacled boulders jut and variegate the coastline where children explore. There is strength, sturdiness, and a rugged dependability reflected in those rocky structure that hold us together against the crumbling caused by elements and time.
In Scripture, rocks become a metaphor for God’s dependability, His faithfulness, His reliable presence and stability in life’s storms and turbulence. If one Googles the question, “What is the most frequent command in the Bible”, varying results pop up because the same idea or fact can be expressed in different words. One result is “be happy” and another is “don’t be afraid”. There is an obvious correlation between those thoughts. We naturally fear many things that sap our happiness, among these are suffering, illness, loneliness, rejection, financial loss, uncertainty, and death. But Scripture is filled with encouraging phrases and words such as “Fear not”, “do not be afraid”, “fret not”, be anxious for nothing, “do not be anxious for your life”, “don’t be anxious for tomorrow”, “peace”, “hope”, “blessed” and “rest”. Those commands and concepts come from the lips of God and remind us that a relationship with God quells the spirit. It is trust, that drives away fear and anxiety.
The Psalmist repeatedly encourages us to reach out in prayer and praise to the “Rock who is higher than we are”, to the One who is “over all” and who hears us wherever and whatever our circumstances. He wonderfully expressed what God had done for him and the sure footing we can discover when caught in the “miry” pits of life–in depression, obsession, addiction, moral failure, toxic situations, wrongful accusations, and overwhelming despair.
“From the end of the earth will I call unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2)
“He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay; And he set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Psalm 40:2)
“He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken……
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him……
On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:2-8)
That reality of God as our present and future hope is a foundational concept for Christians, who have sung songs of prayer and praise to Him for centuries. We still sing several old hymns that triumphantly echo thoughts of security and strength in God’s saving grace: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness… On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand...”(1863) and that majestic hymn “The Church’s One Foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord….” (1866)
Meet Chris Mace
Christopher Mace graduated from Bowdoin College and Tufts University School of Medicine. Served as a Navy Doctor in Vietnam and has practiced medicine in Downeast Maine since 1970. He is now an Elder at United Baptist Church in Ellsworth Maine. Chris is the author of two books, Listening to God and Dancing with God. You can read more from Chris here: http://sweetwordsfrommaine.music.blog/. He is married and has four children and three grand children.