Panama Rocks in southwestern New York are a fascinating geological “rock city” made up of large, glacier-cut rock formations. I’m there today.
According to my map, I’ll descend to follow the base of the rocks and then return via a hairpin turn to ascend along the top of the boulders.
I enter a world of contrasts: rugged stone and tender ferns, pitch-dark tunnels and sun-dappled surfaces, heady heights and plunging depths. I’m awed by massive boulders said to be millions of years old, by vivid greens of moss and leaf, by ropy tree roots splaying down huge rock faces.
There’s a wild history here. “During the mid-1800s,” according to the rock city’s website, “a gang of counterfeiters used the rock area to mint and conceal their spurious coin.” A historical note on site informs hikers that “in the 1800s a bank carriage was robbed in Panama, and local folklore says that the stolen gold was hidden in Panama Rocks.” Since then, many have combed this place for the abandoned loot.
Yes, a place of beauty and wonder. Stark contrasts and high drama. Secrets and mystery.
Just like the Word of God.
Another Rock City
When we trust Jesus for salvation, we are given a guide better than a map: the Holy Spirit.
With the Holy Spirit we enter the monumental Pentateuch with its five towering books, its rich history, its wild stories. We plunge into the darkness of Eden lost, weather the great flood, and trek Israel’s wilderness wanderings. Then we “amen” the psalmist’s alleluias, gaze up at the lofty prophecies of Isaiah, and scramble around the rocks of the minor prophets, often discovering long-forgotten treasure.
Suddenly we’re climbing a hairpin curve to the New Testament, winding up through the four gigantic boulders of the gospels. A fresh wind stirs. We hear Emmanuel coo and the Messiah call. We breathe in the perfume from an alabaster jar and the essence of self-sacrifice in Gethsemane.
We witness a death—and a resurrection. And we have our treasure, our Savior.
But there is more!
There comes an ascension, and then a Pentecost—God in us!
We stand now on high ground indeed. God himself has drawn very near. The air is rare, the view heady. The Spirit, through apostles and epistles, offers lively hope pushing up through the drought of despair, perseverance splaying thick roots down the rock face of trial, promises looming solid and massive.
On we go until we’re atop Revelation with its triumph over darkness and death. Here, pure joy is set before us—forever life with our God.
We’re at the end (though it doesn't really end) of the book. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we’ve delved into deep truths. We’ve discovered Jesus, our treasure. And we’ve fallen in love with the beautiful and intriguing Word of God.
So we’ll keep coming back, ever clambering with fresh enthusiasm around and over and through the Word, rejoicing in it “as one who finds great treasure” (Ps. 119:162, NKJV). As one who seeks for gold and strikes it rich in our Rock City.