Debbie Williamson

Out of the Abundance of the Heart



June 2017



In the Shadow of Haystack Rock

Written by , Posted in General

We started our walk each morning a mile and a half from Cannon Beach’s famous Haystack Rock. It was a small rise in the distance.

The clouds crowded, and the wind blew and the dogs and children raced and chased.

We chatted and drank our coffee and got closer to the rock. And it got bigger, of course.

We stepped over small pools left behind by the retreating tide and tried not to get sand in our shoes.

The seagulls keened and screeched as they circled around the homes they’d made in the grass on the rock. (Grass on a rock, right?)

And still it got bigger.

Eventually, we stood at the base amidst the tide pools and tourists. So much life in the shadow of Haystack Rock. The grown-ups with cameras, the children with sticks, the dogs and the birds, the anemones and starfish.

Life teeming at the rock on the Oregon coast.

And I wonder about the stuff in my life. The things that are hard and confusing and odd. Big and scary.

Most days they seem small as I observe them from afar. No big deal. It’ll all work out. God’s in charge.

And I keep walking. Through each hour, through each day.

But as I do, the small stuff gets bigger. The niggly fears creep in. What are we going to do about that? How will that every work out for them?

I keep on and the worries grow. Should we start thinking about Plan B? Oh right, there is no Plan B, only Plan A. But what if . . .? And what about . . .? And how . . .?

And finally, it’s all I can see. My dark stuff fills every frame — I can’t see anything else. I lie in bed at night fretful, sweaty, planning our next move.

On the beach that day with my friends, we eventually turned around and walked back. And by the time we reached the path to our conference center, Haystack Rock was once again a small bulge way down the coast.

The stuff in our lives that’s hard, really, really hard is our reality. It’s small some days and monstrous others. It’s in the back of our minds on Monday and all-consuming by Friday.

  • We are unemployed.
  • Our oldest daughter and husband recently had to say good-bye to a dream.
  • A friend weeps daily over her in a far country son.
  • Another friend painfully wrestles with loneliness and what to do in her retirement.

The Rock looms large, very large.

But God is the God who works wonders, even in the shadows.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness,
And the hidden riches of secret places,
So that you may know that it is I,
The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.”

Isaiah 45:3

The treasures of darkness . . .

The hidden riches of secret places . . .

Could it be that there are treasures in our dark places? Riches in secret places? The way that God makes Himself known to us?

Squishy sea anemones and clingy starfish and sea gulls protecting their perches. We couldn’t see those when we started out that morning. But in the shadow of Haystack Rock, we marveled and pointed and took pictures.

No one chooses darkness. But what if it’s in the darkness where we see treasures? And riches? And things we might miss in the light?

God is a God who works wonders (Psalm 77:14) even in the darkness, especially in the darkness as we, in the shadow of our big, scary stuff, look for treasures and riches and life.



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