I have become somewhat of an expert on rocks. Some people can look at a rock and tell you if it is igneous or sedimentary, and even characterize it according to the Mohs Scale of Hardness. But what good will that do you? I can look at a rock and tell you whether it is just small enough to get sucked up in the vacuum cleaner. I can tell you which ones will get stuffed in tiny pockets just in time to go through the laundry cycle. And most of all, I can identify which ones will get lodged in a child’s windpipe and win you a free trip to the emergency room while you are trying to make dinner.
My rock classifications are based on their potential to wreak havoc. How much damage can the rock do? Can it be thrown through a window or at someone’s head? Will it trip me if left in the middle of the living room floor? That being said, my favorite rock is the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s nice to look at, but you can’t fit it in a pocket, swallow it, or throw it.
During a recent leave of our senses, my husband Dave and I decided to take our three young children for a three-mile hike along rock cliffs. Before you worry too much, please note that any fall would be cushioned by plunging seventy feet into the Atlantic. Two-thirds of the path is in easy walking condition. The other third, designed to give mothers heart failure, is a rough trail over the rocky shore line. You have to scramble from rock to rock, and even with good shoes, the rock surfaces can be very slippery.
If I had my way, my children would stay in a playpen until college. But they insist on being fed, and thus continue to grow in leaps and bounds. Somehow I had let them out and ended up on the cliffs, watching them leap from rock to rock, and praying that God would protect them from the endless unpleasant possibilities.
As we walked along the path, I discovered that rocks are God’s gift to boys, who then re-gift the rocks to their mothers as a sign of affection. With each rock gift, I would classify it according to Mom’s Scale of Damage, and either keep it or accidentally drop it down the cliff. Everything was going smoothly until the Land of Wobbly Rocks.
The person who was in front was the designated “scout” and owned the responsibility of shouting a warning to all when they reached a wobbly rock. The rest of us would then adjust our paths to avoid the danger. Any job description involving shouting is a perfect fit for a child. During one section of the path, there was so much shouting going on that the nightly news probably reported a sudden inexplicable mass migration of sea creatures.
I learned that when you step on a wobbly rock, your anatomy suddenly shifts to allow room in your stomach for your heart. Our children demonstrated how to avoid those rocks with gusto and a dash of healthy fear. As we struggled along, I imagined angels trying to cover our walk along the “wobbly rocks” of life. After all, God commanded his angels to guard us in all of our ways, and assured us that “they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:11-12)
ANGEL 1: No! Don’t step there!
ANGEL 2: (swooping in to the rescue) I got it!
ANGEL 1: (high-five to Angel 2) Oh yeah! What a save! Let’s watch the instant replay.
ANGEL 2: Maybe now she’ll take the secure path.
ANGEL 1: Don’t look now, but…WOBBLY ROCK!!!!…
During our treacherous hike, I was reminded that “the LORD is my rock.” (Psalm 18:2) I know that without Him, my life would sink to the bottom of those rocky cliffs. But I think we could at least make life a little easier for our angels and keep off the wobbly rocks.