TESTIFYING AT “THE ROCK”
In 2004, I was blessed to help lead the first group of Crestview’s senior high youth to “The Rock”, a Christian camp in western Colorado. We spent a week backpacking at high altitudes in the rugged Uncompahgre Mountains. Hiking each day for miles over rough ground and crossing many streams, we set up tents each night in a new area and shared meager but welcome meals. Among many highlights, one morning we broke camp in the dark at 4 am and hiked straight up a mountain to over 12,000 feet. After an exhausting climb we reached the ridge, held hands as we walked, and recited the Lord’s Prayer. We peaked just in time to enjoy a glorious sunrise.
During the week, each hiker—students, guides and parents–was asked to speak to the group for about one hour uninterrupted on life experiences and individual faith walk, followed by questions and answers. I was rather intimidated by this prospect at first but, by the end of the week, these open exchanges ultimately became liberating. I heard wonderful empowering testimony from the youth about their sincere desires to follow Christ. I also heard honest and heartfelt comments on life challenges and setbacks. Most of the youth voiced considerable frustration in their faith walks because they “didn’t know everything yet.” The youth wanted immediate answers and perfect understanding about God, His purpose, and plans for their lives.
As fate would have it, I testified last. I was the oldest in the group and I think some felt that surely I had this missing knowledge they sought and could fill in the blank spots. (Whether they also thought I was the wisest in the group is a matter for some conjecture!) I began by acknowledging their frustrations and frankly told them that I continued to feel some of the same frustrations, questions, and challenges in my personal walk with Christ. I hoped they were not disappointed or discouraged that I did not have all the answers they earnestly sought. No one does this side of heaven, but I told them that that was OK. I talked about the life-long sanctification journey that we embark upon as believers to become more like Christ. I related that, in my experience, the path is not always smooth and straight-lined, and the journey sometimes bumpy with fits and starts. With the Spirit’s guidance, however, we can persevere through life’s challenges and setbacks and, along the way, receive innumerable blessings and moments of cosmic clarity and beauty.
When we share communion this Sunday, we all are testifying at The Rock. The image of God as a rock–a strong fortress on firm ground, an immoveable foundation that is not shaken—is a powerful metaphor. It energizes and encourages us along our individual faith walks wherever and however we find ourselves. We focus on Jesus as our landmark leading us on the good and straight path to the Father, our foundational cornerstone to eternity.
Bruce Fairbairn, Elder