Skipping Rocks and Other Spiritual Disciplines Part 1

Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:8-10 (NIV)

My seven year old daughter and I have a regular habit during cooperative seasons and locations – we skip rocks. Big rocks, little rocks, flat rocks, round rocks and heretofore unskippable rocks. It is a time for us to connect without words and to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us, whether at home or on the shore of some other water way. It is a beautiful part of being a father.

One day during our walk to the stream behind our house, which is more like a succession of small ponds, she looked at me with intense sincerity. “Dad, I’m gonna watch you skip rocks really well today. You’re a good skipper, so I’ll do what you do.” Prouder I could not be, and yet it was a humbling moment as well. She was watching me, studying me, examining my technique, style and results. There are episodes of stage fright as a parent and this was one for me, for I realized it wasn’t just rock skipping that she was observing.

While we skipped rocks that afternoon, I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to skip rocks with my Heavenly Father; to stand at His side and study His technique and style. Would He make the perfect skip every time? Would he always find the right stone? Would the water always be still for Him? These and other questions sat in my heart and mind and milled around for days and weeks. Finally I decided to go skip rocks with God.

It was quiet at the creek and the small pond it formed by our house. Not silent, but quiet and peaceful in a way silence never could be. A slight breeze would ripple the water occasionally and stir the reeds along the shores, sending birds and bugs to find more reliable perches. The rocky beach where my daughter and I would skip stones was a welcoming place and I took a seat.

Sifting through the rocks around me I picked out those that felt right for skipping and began a pile for myself. After hording enough stones for a fair amount of skipping, I looked out over the pond and studied the surface – the gentle rippling from the intermittent breeze, the steady bubbling from underwater plants as they gave off oxygen, the ever-changing melody of water flowing over rocks.

This was certainly a place to meet God. His character pronounced clearly in the profound complexity of a small pond. It occurred to me that days on end could be spent at that pond learning new and wonderful truths about God; the truths of Scripture illustrated by His art. It was as if my Lord had extended an invitation to meet with Him in that place. I quickly welcomed the invitation and planned on visiting often. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting some of the insights gained during those visits to the creek and other moments of insight and growth.  I hope that what follows is a blessing to any who read and helps you to find ways to skip rocks with God in your own way.

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