The Rock

Cockleroy Hill in Scotland

I guess the older you get the longer your life-story becomes.  I won’t try and tell you my whole story (at least not here), but in order to give context to my life and the heart behind the Desert of Ziph, I must share at least this much.

In March 2000, my wife Lisa and I moved from Canada to Scotland where we started and ran a Youth Center in the town of Linlithgow. It was an amazing time of ministry, and we fell deeply in love with the people there.  Just outside of our town was a large hill called Cockleroy that provides fantastic views of Linlithgow and the surrounding countryside.  On the crest of the hill was a rock that stuck out of the ground and provided a little platform pointing toward the town.  From time to time while we lived in Scotland I would climb Cockleroy and go and stand on that boulder facing the town and pray.  I called it (creatively) ‘Prayer Rock’, and I had some very powerful times of communion with God up there.

Although it was very fulfilling, our time in Scotland did not end as we expected, and in March of 2003 we returned to Canada with the intention of taking a couple of months to recover and see where God would direct us next.  We did not expect that He would lead us into a wilderness.  I ended up working on the oil rigs in Northern Alberta, and months became years.  With the passing of time came the passing of purpose.  With the passing of purpose came the passing of hope, to the point that I became convinced that God was finished with me.  I had lost all hope for the future.  The passion within me to be used of God to impact my world had been reduced from a bonfire to a flicker.  Isaiah 40:27 says, “Why do you say O Jacob… ‘My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God’?”  I felt exactly like Jacob.  God was finished with me.  Of course I ‘knew better’ (I knew all the Scriptures and all the Christian answers), but none of it seemed to make a difference.  Everything inside me felt dead.  I figured that I had had my shot.  It was good while it lasted, but now I was done.  There would be times when working on the rigs that I would put down my tools, stare into the heavens and weep.  I longed so much for more, but I had no clue how to reach such a place or even know what it looked like.  The heavens seemed closed to me.  I was finished.  I lived like that for a long time.  (I use the term ‘lived’ loosely.)

There were a couple of things that got me back on the road to hope.  Probably the biggest factor was the tenacity of a handful of people who refused to give up on me.  One of the most persistent was my friend Cory who would call me up from time to time and breathe a little life into my ‘flicker’.  Thanks to the investment of a few individuals like Cory, I began to think that maybe my life could be redeemed.

As I began my slow and sputtering return to hopefulness, God put a challenge in my heart to return to Scotland for a visit.  Scotland was the last place that I felt like I was operating with some level of intimacy with Jesus, and I felt like the Lord was asking me to return there to set things right and restore my heart.

I made my plans, set an itinerary to see people, and made the trip.  But before I met with anyone, I knew that I needed to head up to Cockleroy to consecrate my venture to God.  As soon as I landed in Glasgow, I grabbed my rental car, headed straight for the hill and climbed up to find my rock.  When I finally saw ‘Prayer Rock’ again, I was not prepared for the condition that I found it in.  I discovered that it had become overgrown with grass and dirt to the point where the exposed rock was only a fraction of its former size.  Instantly the thought entered my mind and I began to question God saying, “Lord, is this the state of your people here in Linlithgow?  Have they become choked with church politics and human control?”  In a flash God responded and said, “No Tim.  That’s your heart.  And it’s time to dig it out.”

A few verses after the passage that I quoted from Isaiah 40, it says this:  “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles” (vs 30-31).  My cause had not been disregarded by my God.  He was not finished with me.

My two weeks in Scotland were amazing.  I shared fantastic times with old friends.  I specifically made a point of meeting with the leaders that I served under when I worked in Linlithgow, finding out what was on their hearts, and praying for them.  At the end of the two weeks when I packed up my car and headed to the airport, the last thing I did was climb up Cockleroy one last time.  And as I drove to the airport with the smell of grass on my hands and dirt under my fingernails, I knew that I was finally free.

 

 

Comments

Posted On
Apr 09, 2011
Posted By
Shirley Knapp

Precious!

Posted On
Apr 09, 2011
Posted By
Isobel Telford

Tim, thank you for sharing this :). Tears flow as I read and watch the video

Posted On
Apr 09, 2011
Posted By
Debbie

Tim, I’m really glad you’re telling your story, I’m looking forward to hearing more!

Posted On
Apr 10, 2011
Posted By
Crystal Clowes

Powerful!

Posted On
Apr 10, 2011
Posted By
Alvin Woelfle

Hey Bru,
I am very Proud of You!!! I remember the first time I saw this video and how it touched me and how it still moves me!!! I Love the song you chose! Keep going, keep revealing, keep giving Hope!!! Feel so Blessed to be a part of your family!!! You Inspire me!!!

Posted On
Apr 11, 2011
Posted By
Andrea Collins

LOVE this. Thanks for sharing!

Posted On
Apr 14, 2011
Posted By
Sophie Sage

Tim
I finally got a chance to read your blog. Awesome. You do have a talent for sharing your thoughts in writing. I am sure it will touch many people.

Posted On
Apr 21, 2011
Posted By
Crystal Downing Picklyk

Renewal of faith and purpose if one of those amazing ‘a-ha’ moments God’s gives us. I am so glad the fuel for your fire has been renewed and is burning strong. That you have been through a wilderness and are stronger for it. Our God is faithful and we are blessed to be his followers. Wishing you a wonderful Easter.

Posted On
Apr 25, 2011
Posted By
Ryan McKenzie

I miss you buddy. Loving your blog.

Posted On
Apr 26, 2011
Posted By
Val

seeing this today on facebook is a direct answer to prayer

Posted On
Apr 26, 2011
Posted By
Steve Pettinger

Wow – Awesome post. Thanks for sharing Tim.

Posted On
Jun 23, 2011
Posted By
Esther

Wow! bless the Lord Oh my soul. Powerful message for where I am at.

Posted On
Nov 25, 2013
Posted By
Iain Speirs

Great story !! Bring us more of the treasure hidden deep within you brother!

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