Mining Angry Rocks in order to Find True Treasure

Mining Angry Rocks in order to Find True Treasure

We bought our house a few years ago and it was a handyman’s dream (or nightmare—depending on how much you like to work). While my husband attacked the inside (new floors, new walls, new plumbing, etc), the gardener in me longed to remove the rocks in the yard. I wanted to see flowers growing instead of beds of rock. The previous owners may have had good intent with their rock arrangements but any semblance of beauty had long ago departed. Out of the neglected rock beds grew hacked up stumps and unruly trees. It was utterly distasteful to my artistic-inclined eyes.

The brown Meramec River rocks lined not only the exterior walls of the house, but also much of the back yard. And while I have hauled away several truckloads of rocks, I still have tons (literally!) left to remove. I use a hoe for the easier piles, but I mainly use a long, heavy metal bar which I thrust into the compacted rock beds with sharp jabs. Once loosened, I pull out the rocks and throw them into buckets and then carry the buckets up a steep hill and dump them in my carport. Once that gets too full I load them into the pickup truck and haul them away. It is a grueling process and I am beginning to wonder if it will ever end.

Brown Meramec River Rocks

It’s easy to rage at the rocks. I curse the people who put them in the yard in the first place. I curse the people who later moved in and weren’t brave enough to remove them, instead choosing to put layers of pea gravel and sand over them. I curse the heat and humidity that conspire to slow my progress. I even curse my husband for insisting we buy this God-forsaken house because it was “cheap.” I didn’t want this house. I wanted my old house. And every single rock is a reminder of what was, and what now is not. In some ways I have come to realize that my fight against the rocks is part of the continuing battle against my selfish desires. I have this notion that once all of the rocks have been removed, maybe I will have triumphed over myself.

The other night I was raging against the rocks as I contemplated my real-world problems. I speared at the hard-packed earth as tears muddied the dust in my hands. I knew my anger was not fruitful but I couldn’t un-feel it. Like those unforgiving rocks it was lodged in the hard-packed clay of my heart. I was searching for someone to blame for the circumstances that were causing me pain, but found myself only slipping into further into despair. As is often the case with people problems, I could see no easy solution. We really have very few options when we truly love someone. We can despise them and walk away from the relationship or we can forgive them and accept them for who they are. When the relationship involves our children, we are forced to realize there is an inescapable bond that restricts our freedom in this regard. Our natural tendencies to protect and teach get muddied as those younger ones lash out with hatred and frustration. Because they are, after all, little human beings with wills and desires of their own, they rarely want their parents poking their noses into their business, especially when it relates to discipline. What we think protects, they perceive as harm, and all manner of messiness erupts in the process.

Somewhere in the midst of my frustration, anger and grief I started to believe that God wants me to suffer. I started to believe He is punishing me for the wrongs I did in my own youth, and a flood of tears ensued.

Anger is awful and undeniable in its force, but even though it is not evil in and of itself, it must be handled with wisdom lest it completely consume.

“A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.” Proverbs 29:22

As I worked at the rocks in the soil I began to pray about the rocks in my heart. In those moments of fiery temptation I found that nothing in me was good. I realized that raging and roiling over circumstances beyond my control would only fuel the fire. And so I went searching for water—living water—to quench my agonies because I knew from past experience that I would find no solace in letting it burn out of control.

Allow peace to fill the holes anger once occupied

I have learned that scripture—God’s Word—is a cool fountain that quenches even the hottest flames. And so I emptied my mind of my thoughts and filled them with verses instead. As I memorized each word I felt the angry “rocks” in my heart wrench free and fill with refreshing peace. The problems I wanted to solve are really unsolvable anyway and so I found that focusing on what really matters—God’s tremendous love and care for me and His absolute, unshakable sovereignty—inexorably quenched the burning anger in my heart.

When we neglect the Word of God, we deny ourselves the resolution we seek. We grope about for solutions and find only Band-Aids for our gaping wounds. We struggle with anger, exhaustion, sadness and frustration without the proper salve that will bring lasting relief from our pain.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

If you have only imagined that the Bible is full of boring and dry verses, you have not truly mined the treasure of God’s word. Every problem known to mankind can be solved with the most important book you can possibly possess. People in other lands risk their lives to acquire it while we in America frequently let it collect dust or dry rot at the bottom of a book shelf. This should not be so! But lest this sound like a lecture, let me assure you that I only want to reiterate the truth about the most beautiful gift human beings have ever been given. I know it because I have lived it, and never more so than a few nights ago when I thought anger would literally break me in half.

I foresee a lot of rocks in my future, both literal and metaphorical, and it helps to know I have good tools as I begin each excavation endeavor. If you have read this, now you do too. The discipline of learning to turn the pages in ones Bible and read the word is probably the most worthwhile discipline there is and I am exceedingly glad to learn it.

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