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Between A Rock & A Hard Place


Between A Rock & A Hard Place

Just how comforting is the idea that God is a ‘rock’ – who wants something hard as a place to run to in a crisis? Isn’t a soft God more soothing?


Laurel Moffatt has been to the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde four times. I first ‘saw’ them when I was 16 years old. But not with my eyes. I saw them through reading Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House. An ancient civilization, preserved in stone. The evidence of ordinary, human lives of an ancient culture and the continuity with the past, layers of history held in stone.

There have been times in Laurel’s life, and maybe yours as well, when life has felt particularly hard. And in those moments, when the only options are difficult ones, the phrase that seems to suit best is being ‘between a rock and a hard place’.

The usual response to difficulty and hardship seems to vacillate between two responses: either avoid it or muddle through in order to overcome it and hopefully get to the other side of it.

This is why Laurel says, she’s always been a bit perplexed by the habit of some Christians sending scripture verses describing God as a rock, as a message of encouragement. Who needs another rock when life is hard enough already?


  • If you enjoyed this episode and you’d like to learn more, I hope these notes will be of help.
  • You may enjoy Willa Cather’s novel, The Professor’s Houseand the description of the land found in the second part of the book ‘Tom Outland’s Story’. Although it’s not as well-known as My Antonia, it is a gem of a book.
  • Head over to the US National Park Service website to learn more about the history and landscape of Mesa Verde, as well as how to visit and stay nearby if it interests you.
  • For links to the bible verses that I referred to in the episode:
  • While I was thinking about and writing this episode, I found this album of music: Beautiful Beyond: Christian Songs in Native Languages.

What is Small Wonders?

The clarity the desert brings. Hurricanes and hard relationships. Finding reason in the middle of a ruin. Small Wonders are quiet but profound observations about life from Dr Laurel Moffatt. In each fifteen-minute episode, Laurel uncovers lessons learned from broken and beautiful things that are polished to perfection and set in rich audio landscapes for your consideration.

Small Wonders is a proud member of the Undeceptions Network.




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