When a Rock Cranks Your Tractor

Looking at rocks at 7:00 in the morning cranked my tractor about as much as being hit over the head with a softball bat. But, as I neared my college graduation, I needed another science class. Geology 101 seemed to be the only one to fit my schedule. I wanted to graduate on time, so I reluctantly added it to my list of classes knowing full well that a 7 am lab would be a monumental struggle for a girl allergic to mornings. Who REALLY wants to look at rocks that early in the morning? 

Even though I didn’t realize it then, learning how rocks are identified, formed, used, broken down, turned into soil, and made into rock again (alias The Rock Cycle) would be something I would later teach my fifth graders. Who knew that a reluctant study of rocks would benefit me and a few others later on?

When we look at our lives, we all have different kinds of life rocks in our paths. The good ones are there to aerate our spirits and keep us from drowning. They motivate us to search for new routes that can potentially fill us with wisdom and understanding. They grow our endurance and perseverance when we choose to courageously burrow underneath, push them to the surface, and toss them aside. We also grow stronger and stronger as we take hold of them, locate a sure handhold, plant our toes in a crevice, and push up and over each one. God makes good use of rocks.

However, we all encounter some bad rocks that God never intended for us. Huge stones have been recklessly hurled at us by others.  Circumstances beyond our control threaten to bury us in a landslide. We struggle to protect our spirits from being crushed by all the happenings on this 3rd rock from the sun. Yet, because He is still God, He uses ALL of them for our benefit – and that makes Satan so unhappy, which makes all of us so very happy. 

For much too long, I focused on the rocks in the soil of my life. I missed the goodness around me. To me, a rock was a rock, and they were all bad. While I aimed my focus on the rocks, what I didn’t realize was that slowly, bit by bit, each one was wearing away and nourishing the soil I was growing in. We all have so much more good soil in our lives than we have rocks.

Much like the rocks in my geology lab, life rocks come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Each one contains a mixture of materials that affect our lives in different ways. No two people encounter the same exact conglomeration of ingredients; nor, do they react to them in the same ways. These days, I’m learning to appreciate the rocks God places in my path (even the frustrating ones in my shoe). I know that as I encounter them, my trust in His plans for me deepens. Because He has used the stones in my past for so much good, I am certain that any new ones I encounter will be used for something good. 

Amazingly, I now see how every rock that was hurled in my direction, piled on top of me, or that completely crushed my spirit was used by God to create a rock-solid foundation of indescribable joy. None of us look forward to those heavy rocks. Yet, we can know that when they do come, we have a God who can and will erode them into dust to sweeten the soil we’re living in.

However, perhaps even more amazing is how this girl who was once allergic to mornings now wakes up at 5 am every morning (like many of you) to look at and study The Rock of Ages. He does indeed crank my tractor to plow new ground every morning.  

I know you know these next few verses, but read them slowly anyway … like it’s your first time. “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence … Who but our God is a solid rock? … The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted!”  (David’s Song of Praise, 2 Samuel 22:2-3; 32b; 47 NLT) 

It takes a Rock to know a rock. God knows all of yours, and He has the power to use every single pebble or boulder for your good. He wants you to become a chip off the Old Rock by not resisting the difficulties in your life. Jesus certainly didn’t. His Spirit can help you use your life rocks to gain more wisdom, endurance, and strength. Who knows? Your not-so-reluctant study of the Rock might one day be used for someone else’s benefit!

Do not tremble; do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago?
You are my witnesses—is there any other God?
No! There is no other Rock—not one!”

(Isaiah 44:8)

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a poster with text saying “WHEN A ROCK CRANKS YOUR TRACTOR”

Donna Jackson

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