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The Solid Rock – My Hope and Stay When My Soul Gives Way

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

2 His oath, his covenant, his blood,

Support me in the whelming flood.

When all around my soul gives way,

He then is all my hope and stay.

Edward Mote, The Solid Rock

This phrase “when all around my soul gives way,” is the one that got me started writing about “The Solid Rock.” So I sat down to write this post with confidence. I expected it to be easy to reflect on my thoughts about the powerful sorrows that cause our souls to give way.

Instead, I came closer to abandoning the topic than I have for a long time. After (figuratively) tearing my first series of paragraphs into tiny pieces and feeding them to the wind, I am now crafting sentences again.

Tonight, I discovered some of my difficulty with this post in an odd and gruesome scene from The Count of Monte Cristo. I’m listening to the 52-hour audiobook and I’m a little over a fourth of the way through. The characters are in Rome waiting to watch an execution. They note that the two assistants to the executioner are sitting beside the guillotine, eating their breakfast of bread and sausage as they wait for the condemned prisoner to arrive.

And I realized that I would feel like those men eating breakfast if I tried to tackle the topic of suffering, which can hardly be separated from “when all around my soul gives way.”

My Soul Gives Way

What do I know of the world’s great cauldron of pain? The tragedies that cause the soul to give way? Of parents dying, leaving young children? Of families separated forever by political divisions, war, or concentration camps? Of unjust abandonments, unfair imprisonments, unwarranted punishment? Of years of labor, lost in an instant? Of gruesome illness or handicap? Of cruel isolation and loneliness?

I have experienced some hardships, yes. And my personality disposes me to recognize that I could easily die of cancer at a young age, like my mother. But since I haven’t heard that diagnosis myself, I often live as if I were as immune from mortality. Like the men eating breakfast beside the guillotine.

And so, I’m not going to ramble on. I’ve attempted stringing words together, only to delete them and find them inadequate.

A Hope and Stay

I can only think of how much better it is in these tragedies for those who know Christ than for those who do not. When “all around my soul gives way,” the Christian still has a hope and stay.

Jesus Christ is not some drab historical figure, but a Man who went toward suffering, not away from it. He was abandoned by those he loved in his darkest hour, beaten and condemned unjustly, and subjected to the worst death the Roman empire could devise. And still, he conquered death and stands at God’s right hand cheering us on.

I suppose he cheers on all of his followers, without regard to trivial things like nationality. However, I feel certain that Jesus Christ is cheering loudest for those who are experiencing “when all around my soul gives way.”

And it is my deepest prayer for those suffering, that Jesus Christ would be all their hope and stay.

This version of “The Solid Rock” does not include the verse I mention above, but I’ve included the recording one last time anyway.

YouTube video



10 thoughts on “The Solid Rock – My Hope and Stay When My Soul Gives Way”

  1. I thought of the “Death of a Dream (a prayer for the disappointed)… the portion that begins with “…you are the King of my collapse. You answer not what I demand, but what I do not even know to ask….”. I often think of this when I experience or hear of someone else’s suffering depths. It would be interesting to chat w you about this excerpt. Thank you for your thoughts in this post. Your way w words is a blessing

  2. I’ve never read The Count of Monte Cristo. I think I shall pass. There have been deaths that have left me utterly speeches because I just don’t know what to say. Thank you Katrina for your thought provoking post.

  3. I just finished listening to the audio version of Monte Cristo and that particular scene was especially sickening.

    Living here in Greece and working in the camp where I am surrounded by suffering and unimaginable stories of suffering, it’s comforting to know that we have a Rock to cling to. The heartbreak and challenge is when those you are working with do not know He is there for them in their suffering.

  4. Becca Slabaugh

    I like the thoughts here. In relation to this subject, I thought of this poem by Amy Carmichael.
    “Today upon the clan
    We call mankind
    Falls such a woe,
    That hadst Thou passionless
    Spent easy days, O Christ,
    known only joys’ dear kiss,
    Walked on safe sandaled feet
    In meadowlands-Ah, who
    that ever ran
    Naked across the plain,
    Scourged by the vehement,
    bitter rain, and fearful wind,
    But turning to Thee desperate,
    would miss
    Something in Thee, yea, vital things?
    Tears were thy meat,
    A spear-stab Thy caress,
    Thou suffering Son of Man.

  5. We don’t need to experience the worst life can give someone to experience the best that Jesus gives. He meets us in our suffering, when our hearts are crushed. Others suffering more intensely does not negate my need when trouble hits. I need Him too – and He is here for me!! He has and is enough for us all. We will not deplete His supply.

  6. I have a little different perspective on this phrase, and I could well be looking at it wrong! I wonder if it’s not “all around” that’s giving way, while my soul remains anchored on the Rock.
    Regardless of the exact meaning, your post still rings true. So often, tragedies leave us speechless and lacking any real comfort to offer of ourselves… but we always have the assurance of the Everlasting Arms.

  7. Thank you for your honest look at your perspective of this verse. I remember the execution scene you described, also heard on audiobook. I still remember the sick feeling I had at the callousness toward suffering. I don’t think you are callous to suffering, though, just because you’ve never felt the ground slip away under your feet. You handled the subject with compassion.

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