When I was a child I wanted so badly to be able to skip stones across the water. It was fascinating to me that rocks could bounce off a liquid surface multiple times before finally settling far into the lake.
My cousins and childhood friends tried to teach me how on multiple occasions. They would search for the perfect flat stone, pull their arm back to the side, then in a quick throwing motion, release the rock so that it sailed over the water. I tried and I tried and I learned a great lesson. I couldn’t skip rocks if my life depended on it. Rock after rock would land with a plop in the water. Many years later, as a young adult I finally learned how to skip rocks, but not consistently and not well.
Since I couldn’t skip rocks as a child, it became my job to count the number of times the rock would bounce off the surface in a single throw. Most of the time it was 2 or 3 times, and on rare occasion a 4th skip might squeeze in at the end. The whole activity seemed to defy the rules of solids and liquids. Afterall, a heavy rock should sink when it hits the water because there is no foundation. The water should naturally envelop the rock and overtake it, disappearing it into its depths.
If we take the idea of skipping rocks and apply it to our faith, each skip represents a truth we have made for ourselves apart from scripture. Sometimes in an effort to justify our actions or love others we stretch the words of scripture. We try to make them fit the reality we are experiencing in the world. We have managed to skip our faith off the water, free of a foundation, yet seeming stable enough that we continue on our path of untruths.
Once we’ve tested the waters and the skipping has begun, it isn’t a far stretch to then begin to cherry pick (or selectively use) scriptures that support a life of comfort and prosperity. We begin to decide that the Lord’s “good” He promises is all about our own lives, so even if our actions and beliefs don’t line up with scripture we can justify them. Our self-truths continue to skip across the water.
If at this point we continue out into a foundationless skimming of faith we come to a point where we forget to consult the Lord. We have a relationship with Him, but we stop walking with Him. We know He’s there and we are assured of our salvation through the sacrifice of His son, yet that is where our growth of faith ends. We’re in deep water, mindlessly sailing through the air, falsely believing our rock of untruths will ever sink.
Then just like everything built without a foundation, eventually the reality sinks in and we plummet. All of a sudden we realize we are caught in a snare of sin, or our eyes are opened and the worldly views that we have manipulated to fit with God’s word don’t make sense anymore. The Lord won’t catch us until we hit rock bottom, until we repent from the lies we’ve built up for ourselves as we skipped across the water. He is still there, right where we left Him, on the shore.
The foundation He offers us is stable and unchanging. There are no surprises and no moral justifications that need to happen when we study His word. If we consult God daily and stay close to Him then we won’t be tempted to skip across the water. As Christians we are to believe His word and take it for what it is, instructions for living. It is tempting to look out at the waters and think about how far we can skip the rocks, but in the end every rock (foundationless idea) will sink.
No matter how far from shore you are today, the Lord is ready to welcome you back with open arms.
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”