Humans come into the world as vulnerable creatures completely dependent on their parents for their survival. For people to develop a healthy capacity to trust they need to experience an emotional attachment to a nurturing parent. If the relationship with the parent is disrupted, the attachment will be threatened and the capacity to trust will be damaged. Later in life it may be more difficult for them to trust God.
The good news is that God can heal our wounds. He can rebuild our capacity to trust.
The Lord is our rock. This is a recurring theme in the Psalm we have read today. In fact Psalm 62 states three times that the Lord is our rock; in verse 2 and 6 “He alone is my rock and my salvation- and verse 7 “My mighty rock my refuge is in God,
God alone is our rock.
In the Old Testament rocks were quite significant. In the wilderness during the sudden storms in the Middle East shepherds and sojourners would often shelter under a large rock. When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness without water God told Moses to strike a large rock and water poured out; and sacrifices were often made to God using a large rock as the altar on which the sacrifice was burned.
And in Psalm 62 the Lord is described as our rock. The word rock could also be interpreted as a fortress. And we all need a rock , a fortress in our lives from time to time. Yet sometimes when we are going through a really difficult season in life we only look to ourselves to be our shelter from the storm to be our own rock.
Simon and Garfunkel sang about being your own rock in1966 in their song appropriately entitled I am a Rock
The problem is no matter how strong you are, eventually you will face something that is bigger than you. Eventually you will find that being you own rock or island doesn’t work. And then we become anxious, maybe even frightened about our ability to cope. Trying to be our own rock may work for awhile, but it cannot last .We may try but we cannot run away from our anxiety, from what is in our minds and hearts. It is then that we may look to family or friends to be that rock for us but that does not always work out either. We often come to realise that the people we are looking to for reassurance are dealing with their own pain and cannot support us in ours.
That is where Psalm 62 meets us and addresses our anxiety head on. One of the most helpful parts of the book of Psalms is that it does not gloss over the reality of fear and pain. And the reality is we cannot be our own rock and other people cannot be our rock They may be able to listen and empathise but they are not able relieve our anxiety totally.
That is why the writer of Psalm 62 emphasizes again and again God alone is our rock and our salvation. God is my rock and my strong refuge.
And this brings us to the good news of the Gospel Jesus is the rock of our salvation. Jesus the Son of God was no stranger to anxiety. Throughout his earthly ministry he was hounded by critics, undermined by religious leaders, scorned by people in his hometown. In the garden of Gethsemane hours before his suffering and death Jesus’ anxiety literally reached a fever pitch as he sweated drops of blood. But Jesus never tried to be his own rock or island. He did not find shelter from anyone in his family or from his friends the disciples or from anyone else. Instead in his suffering and death Jesus became our rock and shelter from the storms of life.
In the same way as in the Old Testament the rock in the wilderness was broken to give water to the thirsty Israelites Jesus was broken on the cross to give us living water. The living water of eternal life. He died for those of us who have been faced with the realities of life, who have been levelled by the storms of life.
In recent weeks we have struggled with events in this country that just rendered people helpless and hopeless. People who, through no fault of their own, have lost all that was precious to them. We have witnessed the emergency services helping and supporting, bravely risking their own lives to rescue others. But after the initial emergency where can people turn to give them hope for the future. Where can those of us, not directly involved, in these events lay our anxieties and fears.
In God, our rock and, our salvation. God can heal and rebuild trust where all seems lost. God is the constant in a troubled and divided world. God sent us his Son to show us how to trust despite our vulnerability. Jesus’ death on the cross is the final and ultimate expression of God’s indiscriminate compassion and love. God loves us unconditionally, as we are and not as we should be because nobody is as they should be. God is our rock and our salvation. In God alone can we trust
“Trust in Him at all times O people pour out your heart before Him God is a refuge for us” Amen