There’s something that you wouldn’t guess about me…
Do you want to know what it is?
Through the trails, the forests, and deserts I trek, I have attained a collection of commemorative rocks.
I love to collect rocks.
I have quartz, fossils, even rocks with sparkles, and specks.
And all of these represent a special piece of a place that awakens my sense of wonder and instills peace into my soul.
I pick them carefully, regarding their uniqueness and intricacies, shapes, and colors matter.
My rocks represent perfect reminders of epic moments in which I allowed myself the gift of being present. Moments in which I contemplated the uniqueness of what was right in front of me.
In my recent visit to Durango, Colorado. I hiked a segment of the famous statewide Colorado trail.
Through the San Juan National Forest along the river, I elevated through the lush greenery.
As is customary, I looked for a rock. I found a green rock, it had layers, but it was too big to carry around so I decided to leave it so I dropped it on the ground.
As it hit the ground it shattered!
I had never seen that happen!
A rock shattered?
How could this be?
Well, science shows us that rocks are formed under high heat and pressure.
Some rocks start as sediments, which are compacted under high pressure.
This rock however shattered into dozens of small pieces.
Likely, this rock had not gone under enough heat and pressure to acquire full solidity.
When I saw the fragments of rock lying scattered on the ground, I couldn’t help but remembering the human heart.
Such a metaphor; a frail heart will shatter.
A frail heart…
So, I pondered upon that for a while and realized that what makes a human heart strong is its character.
And character is forged like a rock through heat and under pressure.
When we think of the word pressure, we think of discomfort, tightness, heat, and even pain.
The kind of experiences that no one likes, including me.
But life can have its share of pressures.
These come whenever we least want them or expect them.
It is the pressure that forges the core motives of the human heart, and every time the heart is positively changed by a negative force and friction, it grows in character.
In exchange for enduring pressure, we receive strength.
Human beings I believe, are perpetually held in the constant tension of who we are; and who we have yet to become.
The solidity of character is then the result of pressure.
Pressure always comes in the form of temptation. As people of faith, we know that temptation is real and is constantly lurking around the corner.
We all experience different temptations.
But my biggest one is fear.
Fear of the unknown, what will happen next, not being in control.
And if I am not in control then perhaps it would be easier to quit.
This is the heat and pressure that my heart undergoes to become strong.
A constant forging of character.
It burns and it crushes me.
The me that has to subside.
The questions will remain in every stance;
Should I stay and endure this heat or do I pull away and pretend that my core is solid?
Knowing that when I come to the first drop, indeed I will shatter.
God tells us in Romans 5:3-4:
“…Even in times of trouble, we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope.
And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!”
It is the pressure that develops us, that transforms the human heart into an enduring force that will not break no matter what comes.
The human heart finds solidity in God’s love.
This is the place where nothing can touch us or break us.
It is in this place of our inner being, the human heart where we are processed into a person of substance and character. One who will not break when temptation comes but who will endure as the heat turns up.
There’s a value to the process, the art of becoming solid.
A fragmented heart cannot sustain the character.
A fragmented heart is divided because its love has run in different directions, just like the pieces of rock, scattered and unequal.
But God has a different plan.
God is a God of character who trains us into the image of His perfection; Jesus.
Through fire as testing, through the pressure, we pass, and the process is then the promise of a solid heart undivided under God.
A whole person, one heart toward one goal, steady under pressure; character is a virtue.
As I thought of this, I resolved that I will not escape the process, for if completeness is the goal and solidity the test of character, then I want it.
I want to be that rock that does not shatter.
It is in these moments of clarity that I understand the pictures I see, the lessons I learn and the experience with Jesus becomes so very real.
Suddenly, I see the truth and it is no longer fear of the unknown that pushes me around, but I am mastered by a solid hope.
A guarantee that if I yield to the process, the real me will emerge, and like a rock, with all its intricacies, crooks, and crannies, I will be one with God.