Anyone who calls West Virginia home has had to deal with rocks. Piles of fieldstone decorate the pastures, testaments to the many back-breaking hours our ancestors spent removing rocks to make better cropland. Several of us have carried a sledge hammer to the driveway to bust up rocks our cars drag on, or hauled buckets of river gravel to fill in the low places. And it is inevitable that every spot you want to put in a fence post will have a rock about two feet down!
Rocks can also be fun. The Holly River running through our property is full of rocks and boulders which have provided hours of entertainment. When my mom, Rose Ann, and her sister Hilda, were growing up and permitted a “rest” break from the farm work they headed to the river. A challenge ensued in which they would see how far down the river they could go jumping rocks without getting their feet wet. They learned the rocks’ placements, stability, slickness, and those with naturally grooved foot holds. It was serious fun and the more you got to know the rocks, the better chances you had of not getting injured. The young girls would leap like gazelles from one rock to another, zig- zagging their way down the river and back. The sport was passed down to my sister and I and we simply called it “Jumping Rocks”. Amazingly we never got hurt because we knew where to step before we took a leap. Psalm 40: 2 says “He set my feet on a rock.” And Psalm 18:2 reminds us that “The Lord is our rock…” Get acquainted with the Rock and know where to put your feet.
Rock and roll music emerged in the 1950’s but in a recent sermon the pastor described an ancient kind of rock and roll. The 1-2 ton stone sealing Jesus’s tomb was probably set in a groove sloped down towards the entrance of the tomb, which allowed it to roll into place easily. Getting the heavy stone removed, however, was extremely difficult because it would have to be rolled up the incline. It is recorded in Mark 16:3,4 how the women who were walking towards the tomb with the purpose of embalming Jesus’ body were worried about how they were going to remove that enormous stone. It’s important to note that they were still moving ahead even though they didn’t have it all figured out yet! And when they got to the tomb they saw the stone had already been rolled away. We can be comforted in knowing God works behind the scenes for us like that, always knowing what we need.
A local rock removal, while not Divine, could still be considered quite epic. It appeared on Nanna’s spring break to-do list as a single line item, “move big rock”. The work crew of cousins, assessing the day’s assignments over our bowls of cornflakes, didn’t fully grasp what it meant until we followed Nanna out to stand in front of a gigantic five foot rock. We were to move this rock around the house where it would make a delightful stepping stone between the house and the cellar. The scene reminded me of Zechariah 12:3 “I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.” At one point Dad had the front wheels of the tractor a few feet in the air, but with heavy chains, crowbars, and a lesson in physics, we eventually lowered the rock into place in the backyard.
Let’s remember when we’re faced with something in our life that seems immovable, it can actually be done. All we need to move mountains is a little faith (Matthew 17:20)…and maybe a tractor. And when we take a leap, it’s good to know the steadfast Rock to set our feet on.
Janet Cowger- Fliegel