The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV).
Is there a place, which lies within your memory, where you go for refuge? A place where the insults and fears drift away and give residence to feelings of joy and peace?
Bee Rock was such a place for me in my youth, and my mind still goes there in these later years. Just a few miles to the north of my home town, where the Little Red River made its last assault on the foothills of the Ozark Mountain uprise, before spreading lazily into the widening soft soil of the flatlands, there was a bluff of sheer stone overhanging the river. At one time, many years earlier, men had shattered the peace and quiet of the area, blasting with dynamite, to recover the stone for gravel roads. But now, the old gravel plant is long gone and the noise of its thundering blasts and raging rock crusher have given way to the gentle breezes and the peaceful songs of the Mourning Dove and Bobwhite Quail. Just at the south edge of that ragged gouge where men robbed Nature of her treasure, there is a prominence which is untouched, still beautiful and serene. And my heart is often found there, drawing once more the peace and serenity that heals the troubled soul.
Some of my best decisions were made on that outcropping over the Little Red River. Perhaps the most important one of my life among them. I have a friend who was my idol as a boy. He was brighter than most. His mind filled with a thousand wonders and a heart of science. We were both fascinated with guns and often slipped away to the gravel pit to test some new rifle or shell. And we never left without climbing to the point which rose more than one hundred feet over the Little Red River. But I was speaking of important decisions, two rush clearly to my mind. The first changed the character of my speech for life. Sitting there on the point, and I suspect wanting to impress Bill Rushton with my maturity, I included a few good words of profanity in a statement I likely thought profound. There was a silence while he looked straight into my face. Then he replied, "That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard you say!" I was crestfallen, but I never used foul language again.
The second, the one to which I referred as being the most important in my life, came at a time when I struggled desperately to hold some sense of faith in God and His Word. Bill and I sat there in our place, leaning back against the lone tree which had clung to the bare rocks to survive many a storm, and we silently gazed at the beauty of that view. To the north lay the ragged cliffs of the gravel pit. To the northeast the Little Red River flowed with turbulent stream through Echo Dell and became quiet as it slowed in the wider pool which lay below us. With the mountain still rising to our backs in the west and the gentler hills to the east, we sat and thought. A thing we both loved to do to separate ourselves from the turmoil of life away from this wonderful spot. Bill spoke without even looking in my direction. "A man would have to be a fool not to believe in God in a place like this." If his bright mind saw God there, then surely it must be true!
There is a line from an old song that comes to mind:
There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.
A place where fears cannot molest, near to the heart of God.