As you no doubt noticed last week, I thoroughly enjoyed my recent trip to Devils Tower National Monument. I found the place fascinating! So today, I share more musings about my visit there. Is there a place you have visited recently that has made you ponder deep thoughts?
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.
Hebrews 2:1 – NLT
To the no doubt consternation of my earthly father and my Heavenly Father, I am prone to ask the question, “But why?” Far be it from me to accept the often proposed answer, “That’s just how it is.” My unfailing response as a child and still as a much older and supposed to be wiser adult was and is, you guessed it, :But why?”
So when we rolled into the Black Hills of Wyoming and found Devils Tower looming above the surrounding landscape, I just had to ask, “But why?” Rising 867 feet above its earthen base, our nation’s first national monument dominates the surrounding scenery. As beautiful as it is, this jutting protrusion of rock just doesn’t quite fit with the cascading hills and open valleys of the region. One glance at that looming tower, and my mind began whirling with questions.
My curiosity climbed still higher as Eric and I strolled along the paved walking path that encircles Devils Tower. We paused at each of the information signs that the National Park Service had posted along the path. As Eric patiently read each sign to me, more and more of my questions were answered, although for some of my questions, there are only Theories instead of validated facts. That is the case for my most obvious question, “But why? How did this strange rock get here?”
While geologists have Studied this atypical rock formation in depth, the exact explanation is still in question. Several theories have been postulated, and scientists continue to debate their validity. The most widely accepted explanation for the presence of the tower is erosion.
Devils Tower is composed of igneous rock that is formed when molten lava beneath the earth’s crust solidifies and hardens. The erosion theory purports that at one point in distant history, the land in the vicinity of today’s tower was much higher, and this particular mass of igneous rock was concealed well below the surface. Over millions of years, the land was subject to the ravages of wind and water. Ever so slowly, wind sifted the soil away. Snow melt and the subsequent rushing water swelled the nearby river, washing the soil downstream to a new location. As the soil gradually slipped away, the elevation of the landscape declined, thereby exposing this mass of rock.
As we wandered through the thick stand of Ponderosa pines that skirt Devils Tower, I pondered the process of erosion, this idea of once fertile soil slowly, ever so slowly, slipping away. Substance slipping away. That which was firm and solid being sifted away, the increments of this destructive process so small as to be unobserved until the mass that once was is lost forever.
Erosion disturbs the soil, sifting and shifting it, washing it away. Erosion is an enemy of the land, but it is also an enemy of the soul. Oh, how easy it is for faith that was once strong and solid to gradually slip away. The tribulations of life can challenge our faith much as the torrents of a raging river can pound at the wall of a canyon and ever so slowly destroy the once solid rock. We think our faith can withstand the pressures of life, only to find over time that our firm foundation has gradually worn away.
We have the best of intentions. We pledge our allegiance to the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study and corporate worship, only to find our days too filled with other pursuits. We value our quiet time with God and want to spend time in His Word, only to find that the demands of work, childrearing, projects or travel absorb the time that should be reserved for God. We dash off to fix the problems of the day without remembering to pray. After all, if our solutions don’t work, there will be time to bring God in later, right?
In this age of Covid closings, we had to accept the need to temporarily close our church doors. We learned to watch from home in the comfort of our recliners. Now that church doors are reopened, it is awfully hard to reclaim that discipline of getting up, getting dressed and getting to church. It’s so much easier to just turn on the computer.
Erosion, can you see it? Can you see our spiritual substance slipping away?
What about the slippery slope that is today’s secular society? Do you perceive the erosion of morals, ethics, and values? Do you, like me, feel that the canyon of your Christian beliefs is being constantly bombarded by the raging river of public opinion?
The forces of erosion expose what is hidden beneath the surface. As the days and years go by, what will erosion due to the bedrock of our faith? Will the core of our beliefs remain strong, or will we let it all drift away?
When I think about that enormous pillar of granite rising up from the Wyoming soil, I am encouraged. That sure and solid tower reminds me that The Lord is my strong tower, and when I cling to Him, my faith will remain as strong and solid as that rock. Let me not drift away by casting my eyes away from Him, but let me keep my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
Friends, be on guard. Stand firm. Take care not to drift away. “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise” (Hebrews 10:23, NLT
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
Psalm 61:3-4 -NIV
O Lord God Almighty, You are our strong tower. You are our rock and our refuge. We run to You, and we are saved. Lord, the pressures and temptations of this earthly life bear down on us, distracting us from our spiritual disciplines, sometimes even shaking the bedrock of our faith. Lord, help us not to drift away, but to stand strong and hold on without wavering to the hope we affirm in You.
In the Strong Name of Jesus, we pray,