Standing on the Rock
A life built on the spiritual foundation of divine Truth is unshakable and secure.
When I was growing up, I attended a mainstream Protestant Sunday School, where we sang a beloved hymn: “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” by Edward Mote with William B. Bradbury’s melody “Solid Rock.” We belted out this hymn at the end of class every Sunday. Since we were just kids, we didn’t think much at the time about what we were singing. It was just so fun to sing this hymn together. But the lyrics stayed with me, and all through my life I have been grateful for them:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
Throughout the Bible, there are many references to “the Rock.” Old Testament writers called God the Rock (see, for example, Deuteronomy 32:3, 4). In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul identified Christ Jesus as the Rock (see I Corinthians 10:4). Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in her signature work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, spiritually defines rock as “spiritual foundation; Truth” (p. 593), and Christ as “the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error” (p. 583). So, whether referring to God or Christ, “the Rock” stands for what is divinely true, sound, all-powerful, and eternal.
“The Rock” stands for what is divinely true, sound, all-powerful, and eternal.
A life built on this spiritual foundation of divine Truth is unshakable and secure. The harmony and well-being of our daily lives may be challenged severely, but nothing can upend them as we stand on the Rock, Truth, and on Jesus’ demonstrations of victory over discordant circumstances through trust in and the understanding of God. Jesus told us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). He also promised, “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24, 25).
As is true for most people, my life has included hardships, such as a miscarriage, marital struggles, Hurricane Katrina, the passing of my husband, and a 2016 fire in the Smoky Mountains that burned near my house. In each case, as I clung to the Rock, the divine Truth and Love that Christ Jesus showed us, harmony and peace were restored.
A recent challenge of smaller scope disrupted a family vacation, but the lessons I learned from it were large. I was in Maine with my sister and brother-in-law. It had been a beautiful time together, but I was dealing with a heavy cold. Our last night together, we were attempting to sleep before a 3:30 a.m. airline wake-up call. My incessant coughing frustrated all of us. Although I was praying the best I could at the time, the coughing persisted. My biggest concern was that I was keeping my family awake.
Finally, my sister said, “Why don’t you call a practitioner to help you?” Oh, my gosh! What a great idea! A Christian Science practitioner is a full-time healer who prays for people. Although my sister is not a Christian Scientist, she has respect for Christian Science healing. I emailed a practitioner, who responded immediately. He said he would pray for me, and also asked me to hold to precious spiritual facts regarding God and His image and likeness, me. He was asking me, in so many words, to change my thinking and stand on the Rock of Truth in prayer.
When we listen to and obey God, as Christ Jesus said, we are building our lives upon solid rock—Truth.
In Science and Health, Eddy expands our understanding of God with seven particularly significant synonyms: Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love (see p. 587). These synonyms indicate the nature and qualities of God. Because we are each God’s image and likeness (as the Bible says in Genesis 1), our identity reflects the nature and qualities of God. The practitioner was asking me to hold to my real identity. So I clung to these thoughts: “I am 100 percent loved and loving as the child of Love.” “I am 100 percent spiritual as the child of Spirit.” And similarly with the other five synonyms.
I was also reminded that “great peace have they which love [God’s] law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalms 119:165), and I saw that this blessing was for me and all humanity. Nothing can truly disturb, offend, diminish, or limit us. These ideas helped me to replace panicky, fearful, sickly thoughts with the spiritual facts of my true identity. I stopped listening to thoughts filled with anxious frustration, and instead listened to God, obeying the divine command to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). I stood mentally secure on the Rock, the truth of God and of our nature as God’s purely spiritual creation. The coughing quickly ended. Everyone fell asleep, and we were ready to catch those flights in the morning. In a day or two, I was completely well.
Ever since that healing over a year ago, I have cherished its lessons. Each morning I pray with these and other synonyms for God and listen for fresh inspiration about what they mean for me and all of humanity. With this focus and resolve, I stand on the Rock each and every morning. If during the day I am tempted to be dismayed about news items or health scares, I remember that I stand on the solid rock of spiritual Truth, and that “all other ground”—all viewpoints based on material perceptions—“is sinking sand,” an unstable and unreliable foundation.
Not matter, but infinite Spirit, God, and His infinite spiritual creation are solid fact. When we listen to and obey God, as Christ Jesus said, we are building our lives upon solid rock—Truth. And nothing can crush that calm, joy-filled, and permanent Life.
I love the hymn “Rock of Ages” as rendered in the Christian Science Hymnal. Here is verse 3:
Christ, the Truth, foundation sure,
On this rock we are secure;
Peace is there our life to fill,
Cure is there for every ill.
Rock of Ages, Truth divine,
Be Thy strength forever mine.
(Frederic W. Root, No. 293)