I’m sitting with my back to this dumb rock again, my glum face resting on my stone-grazed hands. How many inches did I move this gargantuan lump of cringe-inducing solid earth? 2? 3? 100? It seems like maybe it’s moved 5 whole inches since I started moving this particular behemoth nearly 6 months ago. It was time to start up that hill — God ordained it so, and we listened. As with all vainglorious endeavors, the first few times were easy. I greeted each arrival of class time with the sweet kiss of just-married lovers. Everything was beautiful and shiny, like a juicy-sweet peach just after a rainfall. I was ready to take on the world and shove this rock as fast and as furious as I could, determined to reach the top in record time.
I should know by now, being an avid rock-pusher, that the road to glory is paved with pitfalls, pirates, and perilous passages one doesn’t see coming because of the BIG, DUMB ROCK they’re too busy pushing. If I keep stopping to take the time to look around the rock, I’m wasting time and losing speed. As I sit here, back against this ginormous pain in the patootie, I ask myself a few questions. Why should I be surprised that the testing ground for patience, perseverance, and pluckiness seems like the highway to hell? Didn’t God order this particular behavior for me to do? Isn’t He inclined to get the best results possible out of every stinking thing He wants us to do? Isn’t the point to grow a new set of wings and fly to the peak?
Maybe I’m just a dreamer. Visions of glory and wonder percolate in my brain all day. I dream up more and more ways to make myself busier, more satisfied with life, stronger as a person. And yet, those fanciful delusions of grandeur hardly ever cost me wooden nickel in real life. Oh yes, I can run all day on sheer fluff, momentarily satisfied, but ultimately betrayed by the promises made by rainbows, unicorns, and cotton candy. Perhaps this rock is more real, raw, and righteous while it scrapes my hands, clothing, and soul to shreds with its ragged, rock-worn ways. Have I ever grown a single muscle fiber riding unicorns and devouring spun sugar?
Our Father always promises something better than rainbows: a life changed. He says He will work all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Which means what, exactly? And what does “good” mean in this context? Like, HOW CAN THIS ROCK BE GOOD?
Ah, yes, that moment of crisis that leads to decision making. The one where you have to just lay down and let that rock roll right over you, or get back up and keep pushing. If a 5-ton rock rolls over you, that can’t be good, right? Or maybe it’s good to get life over with and move on? Perhaps less dramatic, like throwing my hands in the air and saying “I give up, God — You do it” will stop this crazy cycle of pushing and pushing and pushing. After all, He’s big enough and strong enough to pick that rock right up and take it where it belongs. But why would He do that when making me do the work is much better and good? At least according to Him.
I’ve enough experience by now to know that giving up is the imaginary number to the grand equations of life. It doesn’t do anyone, much less me, a darn bit of good to walk away in the middle of that ostensibly impassable mountain march. The experiences, cuts, scrapes, and bruises of learning how to move that rock lend themselves to building muscle memory, squashing learning curves, and generally moving mountains from here to there. He said it only takes a little faith to do that miracle. If I want the results and the blessings, I have to trust that He sees what I cannot: the goal and THE POINT. He already cleared as much of the path as He could without making it too easy to get to the top. Humans learn best in the midst of adversity, so adversity it is, if I want to get somewhere in life.
So I choose this path, this rock, and this life. I choose to grunt my way up that steep, slippery slope and give it all I have, and whatever He gives me to get me there. I’ve seen the glory and triumph too often to say “no” to Him. Come at me mountainside, I’ve got some rock-rolling to do.