How many times in life do we get blindsided by “unplanned for rocks”? My father was a Road Builder. When I was growing up he would load up the family in the car, especially on the weekends, and ride around surveying the progress being made on the construction of the new road he was working on.
I have vivid memories of freshly graded soil and piles of brush and trees burning as they would clear land to make way for a new highway. It was always a stressful time for my dad when he hit “unexpected rock,” meaning there was rock that was undetected through soil tests during the bid process. When he initially calculated and submitted a bid to win the job, he didn’t factor in the cost of having to dynamite and remove this rock. In order to handle the unplanned for rock and make up for the unplanned expense, he would work longer hours and work on Saturdays to meet deadlines and offset the unplanned cost the rock had caused. I witnessed first hand my dad, a man of strong faith, diligently adjusting to the rock and having the faith and fortitude to handle the unexpected.
These images taught me early on that everyone gets hit by unexpected “rocks.” For me personally, it was the “unplanned rock” of our son’s chronic illness discovered when he was only 5 years old. It introduced a major dip in the road of life for our entire family, especially for Thomas.
Recently I met a brand new friend whose name is Jan. She is from the neighboring state of NC. Jan is a friend of a friend and our mutual friend, Sheryl, thought we should meet. We met for coffee at Starbucks and I quickly learned we had many things in common– our friend Sheryl, our faith, and the fact that all 3 of us shared major life-changing “rocks.”
It was a 3 hour unexpected blessing of learning about her life, but especially about her “unplanned rock,” the sudden death of her 27 year-old son, James. She shared about waking up one morning with a very much alive son and going to bed the same night with a son who was dead. James had been serving on the mission field in Nairobi, Kenya, when she lost him. I could only imagine the shock and pain she endured.
We talked about our friend, Sheryl, who was still very much in the midst of deep grief from the loss of her husband and our friend, Bob. As we shared tears, smiles and life, it was a great comfort to share how God has been our “Rock.” What a visual reminder we have in Psalms 18:2! “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
For Jan’s family their loss was tremendous. I will never forget the Scripture she quoted to me, John 12:29, which says, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Through their pain and loss of James, their foundation, Withopeneyes.net , grew exponentially. I love how God used Jan to further grow my faith in the area of applying Scripture and actions to the “rocks” life brings. In life we will all get hit by rocks, sometimes it may be multiple rocks at one time. We must choose who to turn to for strength, comfort and direction.