And so I begin this humble attempt to calm the raging and wild words within. Like a river, my words are unruly, unpredictable, and untamed. I wade through the waters and long for a place to rest from the rushing currents, a place that provides clarity and focus to my thoughts. Such is my life as a writer.
When I was a child, my family camped and fished along the Popo Agie (po-PO-zsha) River above Lander, Wyoming. Nestled within the Wind River Mountain Range, the Popo Agie snaked around Lodgepole Pine and Blue Spruce trees, canyons, and meadows. In one section of the river, a massive boulder protruded from the waters. Convinced it was my private sanctuary, I fought off the company of my brother and sister with adamant determination and entered the swift and frigid waters alone. Then, lying upon the granite rock, I would allow its sun-soaked warmth to dry my skin and refresh my spirit. Although still within view of my watchful mother, I felt secure and hidden from the world. It was a remote island where I could escape the seemingly great pressures of childhood and enter the solitude of my imagination. It was a place of grand dreams and secret wishes.
As an adult, I still climb upon a rock sanctuary. Whether battling the river of words within my mind or the rushing and turbulent waters of life, I find it necessary to climb upon the rock higher than myself and soak up the warmth of the Son. Just as Jesus went to lonely places to pray (Luke 5:16), I go to my hiding place and pour out my life and words before the Lord. He fills me with the truth of His Word, which provides rest, clarity, strength, purpose, and joy.
“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.” Psalm 61:2-3
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation.” Psalm 62:5-6
Sometimes, the waters are more treacherous. I flail as I attempt to navigate a way through my hardship, sin, and pain. As the tendrils of fear and shame encircle my neck and threaten to pull me to the depth of despair, I believe there is no hope… no one who sees… no one to save. Realizing I am drowning, I raise my hand and call out to the Savior.
“The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, save me!'” Psalm 116:3-4
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.” Psalm 18:16
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:1-2
Again, I remember the Popo Agie River and a geological marvel called The Sinks. There, the water rushes down a rocky slope and disappears violently into a hidden cavern within the limestone wall. It is common to see a mother tightly gripping her child’s hand as the thunderous roar of water evokes a sense of impending danger. The water emerges a quarter-mile away in a quiet and tranquil pool called the Rise. Brimming with rainbow trout and vegetation, the Rise bears little resemblance to the tumultuous waters of the Sinks.
The details behind the Sinks and the Rise remain a mystery, as the caverns between the two are inaccessible. A dye test showed, however, that it takes over two hours for the water to rise only a quarter-mile away. Mysteriously, a greater volume of water emerges at the Rise and it is several degrees warmer. Many assume the Popo Agie joins an underground river, lake, or spring before rising to the surface.
I marvel at how God reveals Himself through His creation.
“For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities-
His eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen,
being understood from what has been made,
so that men are without excuse.” Romans 2:20
I pour my life into the Rock, and like the waters of the Sinks, I emerge transformed. There is a greater volume to my life with His presence. (John 10:10) He exchanges my heart of stone for a heart of warm flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) A peace that transcends all understanding replaces fear and anxiety. (Philippians 4:7) It is upon this Rock, I stand.
Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.”