But as a mountain erodes and crumbles and as a rock is moved from its place, as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy a person’s hope. You overpower them once for all, and they are gone; you change their countenance and send them away. If their children are honored, they do not know it; if their offspring are brought low, they do not see it. They feel but the pain of their own bodies and mourn only for themselves. – Job 14:18-22
As I write this I am in Ghana west Africa. Home to some of the oldest and most heavily weathered rocks in the world. It is fitting that my walk with water in the bible has arrived at this passage today about erosion and weathering.
Mountains erode and crumble and rocks are moved from their places. Hope destroyed like water wears away stones…wow this is truly a dark time in Job’s life and spirit. Weathering is the process whereby rocks are broken down into their fundamental components and carried by water to the sea. As I have pondered this passage it strikes me that “weathering” is actually what is happening to Job. Through a series of hardships and toils he is being broken down into his fundamental spiritual components.
On one level this process could be seen as destructive and harsh, but in the grand scheme it is part of a necessary “breaking down” that it seems must occur if we are to leave the beach and join the spiritual ocean — the kingdom of God. As we pass though life, at least life after 30, our bodies are in many ways starting to break down, weather if you will, and I can attest to this as my body nears the half century mark. We can view this breaking down as a terrible loss for which our souls mourn or we can view it as a necessary transition as we are stripped down to our souls.
As rocks are broken down the components become dissolved into the waters carried by rivers and streams. It is these ions that accumulate in the oceans to make them salty — liquid mountains awaiting their chance to rejoin the dance through the geologic cycle. I do not know what happens to our souls once we die, but it seems from what I have read so far that we join a spiritual sea, but remain distinctly ourselves. This is a great mystery and one that some day will be made clear when my soul crosses over.
Prayer: God the process of our bodies breaking down can be hard, help us to remember that they are just temporary homes for our souls.
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