July 11, 2012

There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides You; there is no rock like our God.  1 Samuel 2:2

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…

Okay, so not always, as attested to by the fact that I haven’t posted anything on this blog for a while. Yeah, I’ve been busy…

But I’m also trying to enjoy the warm weather. And nothing says summer like water. And the national parks have plenty of that, even places where you can take a dip.

Take Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, located along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan in the state of Michigan. It offers 65 miles of sand beach for swimming, bluffs that rise 405 feet above the lake, a scenic loop drive through forest that also offers spectacular views, “ghost” towns, an historic village, an island with a lighthouse to explore, a U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Museum, and plenty of hiking. One of the most popular things to do, especially for kids, is to climb the dunes and run back down.

This is also a spot where you might find a Petoskey stone, a unique kind of fossilized coral. I used to have one, shaped like a heart (aw, how romantic!) which a former boyfriend gave to me (he was from Petoskey, a town near the park), but which was stolen from my house several years ago.

An interesting side note about Sleeping Bear Dunes: I just read today on Huffington Post Detroit that you can “buy” an inch (or more) of this park. My Inch of the Earth “allows people to claim their own virtual inch of land for $1 a month, with the proceeds going to select nonprofit groups…[E]ach inch owner receives a ‘deed,’ a personal latitude and longitude and tools to share photos of the location and connect with other virtual landowners via social media.” If you purchase an inch, 40% of your donation will go to the Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear, a nonprofit that works on historic sites in the National Lakeshore, and 60% will go to the National Park Foundation. My Inch of the Earth also partners with other National Parks sites: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the Statue of Liberty and Yellowstone.

But back to the lakeshores. Further north in Michigan, on its Upper Peninsula, is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, along the shores of Lake Superior. Smithsonian magazine had a terrific article about it last year. The park is named for the myriad of colors splashed over its 15 miles of towering cliffs, as hundreds of large and small waterfalls and springs react with the minerals in the sandstone. The 35 miles of lake shoreline also include beaches with shallow, clear water (Lake Superior is the largest, deepest, coldest and most pristine of the Great Lakes), and maritime sites—lighthouses, Coast Guard and rescue stations, even a shipwreck! Naturally, there’s also plenty of hiking.

Both of these are places shaped by long-ago glaciers, which wind and water continue to mold and change. The rocks may look deceptively solid, but fallen chunks at the bases of the cliffs tell a different tale. The author of the Smithsonian article notes that in some places at Pictured Rocks, the cliffs may retreat several feet in a single year. The lower portions are the most fragile, due to the lake’s pounding waves.

God is compared to a rock many places in Scripture (Psalm 18:2, 46; Psalm 19:14; Psalm 31:2, 3; Psalm 71:3; for example). But as Hannah noted in her prayer from 1 Samuel, in the verse I quoted at the beginning, God is not like the rocks we find on earth. He is not subject to the effects of the wind and waves—in fact, they are subject to Him (Mark 4:41)!

The best foundation for any building is solid rock. Manhattan has many skyscrapers because the ground underneath is sturdy enough to support them. But as we saw on 9/11, even that was not enough to prevent destruction from an outside source.

Where are you standing? Are you on a sandy beach, gaily romping in the sun and surf, wishing you could live like that forever? Looking for bright shiny stones along the shore, paying no attention to the incoming tide that could carry you out to sea? On the cliffs, enjoying the view but never sure when a pounding storm might sweep the ground from under you?

God never promised a trouble-free life (Ecclesiastes 7:14, John 16:33). As well as good times, we will experience loneliness, uncertainty, fear, pain, heartache and grief. Money often makes no difference at all–for many problems, it’s as worthless as a virtual inch of earth.  The only certainty comes from building a life on firm footing that cannot be crumble or give way, no matter what batters us (Matthew 7:24, 25).

In times like these, you need a Savior,

In times like these, you need an anchor;

Be very sure, be very sure

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.

This Rock is Jesus, yes, He’s the one,

This Rock is Jesus, the only One.

Be very sure, be very sure

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.

In Times Like These

Ruth Caye Jones



One comment

  1. Pete Huddy says:

    Your blog is as articulate as ever! Seriously, Penny: “as worthless as a virtual inch of earth” is an excellent wordsmith’s turn of a phrase! Well said.

Leave a Reply