Run The Rocks

We had a beautiful time away as a couple in Acadia National Park this past weekend; breathtaking wild beauty, running into ocean. Our friendship grew as husband and wife, and we’re determined to be a “safe place” for one another through the next decades of our marriage. (Note: Then, we ran a junior high campout and I got 1 hour of sleep through a cold August night – almost canceling the effect of the time away!).

One of my favorite moments occurred on the ocean front where the massive rocks of Maine meet the Atlantic in a tumble of unyielding earth and accomodating water. Anita sat on a rock to read for a few hours, while I pulled out my charcoal pencils and pad to sketch.

As I looked down the mile or so of rocky shoreline, I decided that fun was to be had for the taking. Running shoes on, I began a reckless leaping from rock to rock that made me feel like I was somewhere between Spiderman and a cat (a 190 lb. one, mind you) dancing over the rocks.

I ran past painters interpreting the shoreline in mixes of water and color, kids who wished their parents would let them do what I was doing, and seagulls looking fiendishly like old homeowners frazzled that this new invader was running across their lawn.

On and on down the shoreline I jumped from rock to rock, never noticing how tiring it really was, and aiming for a beautiful, small cliff face that would end my journey due to the chasm between it and the next run of rocks.

Ending my journey, a small resting place, naturally cut out of the rocks, was waiting for me. It was like an armchair cut down into the thick stone, offering me a nestling place that was in the cliff, but not so deep I couldn’t rest my arms on either side and see my now tiny wife waving to me off in the distance (I was glad for the distant company, yet reveling in the psychological seclusion this fresh terrain afforded).

Interestingly, it brought back to me a dream I had several years ago, when I stood on a higher rocky cliff looking out over the ocean to an oncoming storm. The clouds in the distance were black and menacing, and I knew that the land I stood on would be battered in its fury.

I looked to the left in my dream, and there, slowly appearing on the left side of the cliff face (a chasm I was looking into – cliffs on my immediate left and right) were the words “… a time is coming….” On the right cliff, words were beginning to appear, but I couldn’t make them out.

Then, a voice spoke to me about the coming storm and the strength of the cliff on which I stood. “Root your character in my character.” I immediately knew what the voice meant. The solid rock of the cliff was God’s character, and I was to dig a sitting place into the side of the cliff and weather the oncoming storm in the firmness of that hiding place.

In my dream, I began to carve out a seat very much like the one I was sitting in along the rocky cliff in Maine this week.

Instead of a dream reminding me of a reality, a reality reminded me of a dream – I’ll never understand, this side of heaven, which is the important of the remindings.

And so, I ran the rocks, with enthusiasm and abandon, and am the richer for it – at least in mind and heart.

Run the rocks of your reality today. Skip and leap and tumble if you must. But lose some of the care that makes you crawl and hesitate – to quicken your pace toward a new and heartening resting place.

RELEASES FEB. 8, 2022 | Brazos press

Sheltering Mercy helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

Pre-Order below, and join my email list, to get author notes and updates about the book and events around it. If purchasing for Christmas gifts, soon you’ll be able to download a Christmas Gift Certificate PDF here so you have something for under the tree!).

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