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The Rock in the River

by Christian Michael

April 22, 2013

You’ve been trying to keep things together at work, at home, with your friends … but things are beginning to fall apart. The same relationships you so depended on are beginning to crumble. The workplace has completely changed — people coming, going, regulations; perhaps stuff is rolling downhill and happens to rush you all at once. And your home life is beginning to upheave. The world around you is beginning to melt and it’s beginning to affect your stability.

Your world as you knew it has changed, and you don’t know what to do. You’ve been a pebble in a quarry and no matter what came against you, you and the rocks around you weathered it together. But over time, they’ve been pulled away, the rocks have slid on and the rains have come, and you, the rough-hewn rock of chance are quickly affected by every passing wind and rain.

But think of the rock in the river, the large one in the center of the stream. Despite thousands of tons of water rushing about it, it does not move. Its surface is smooth, it is surrounded by turbulent water yet has only one anchor, little seen but unmoving.

Who are you in this scenario? Are you the rough-hewn rock which has long depended on the rocks around you to buffer the storms, or can you be the rock in the river against which chaos itself descends and yet bears no sway on the rock’s stand in the water?

The rock in the quarry is a man or woman who requires their circumstances to dictate the peace of the heart. They need a stable workplace, peaceful home and the same steady friendships to keep their world together. They need their environment to be unmoving, unchanging for themselves to feel secure.

The rock in the river is a man or woman who has peace without their circumstances, who is anchored in a single but powerful part of their lives that, while often unseen by cursory glances stands long the test of time. They bear faith as their truest source of peace and let all other events around them pass by.
Do you want to be the quarry rock, or the river rock?

As a human being, we’ll never be entirely one or the other. It is not a bad thing to be one of many — there is nothing wrong with desiring a peaceful environment. And it’s not about being a lone wolf. Community is power, in itself. However, there is great value is learning how not to depend entirely on your environment for your peace.

Think of it more like a riverbed of rock — where all are smooth and anchored, but still together?

But that still requires you to become a river rock — someone well anchored as your chaotic environment passes around you. How can you be that?'

  1. Find your anchor. Every river rock started out as a quarry rock (generically speaking). It was rough around the edges, and those rough edges made it easy for any external force to get a good grip on it and spin it about. But once that rock got stuck (i.e. anchored), it could hold against the force of the river.
  2. Stand knowing the river must move around you. It was uncomfortable at first — the river constantly pushing and pulling on that rock to move. But the anchor was what kept the rock from moving. Trusting in your anchor, like the faith of the heart, is a shortcut to peace when all around you seems on fire.
  3. Releasing, one at a time, the parts of you most affected by circumstances. Eventually, all those rough edges on the rock began to smooth away. Eventually, the rock streamlined against the river, so much so that the river began to move less against and more around it, bowing to its immovability. This is achieved by releasing fear and doubt and concern and, most importantly, the attempt to control what happens around you. It’s these things that make you rough-hewn. You think they’re assets, when in reality they are vulnerabilities.

It will not happen overnight, but eventually you can become the one person in the midst of chaos who seems at peace no matter what happens. Fire rains, earth trembles, bacon disappears … and you can be the single voice of calm in an otherwise terrible storm.

Which would you rather be?

Be willing to let go of control over your circumstances. Surrender your life and heart to God. Let him rule you and reign in your heart. You will find that a better anchor than any circumstance ever could be, and in time, you’ll wonder why the river ever scared you at all.


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