Dr. Rodney T. Hard

                      BOULDER OF DOOM 

By: Dr. Rodney T. Hard and Sterling Hard 

As missionary kids growing up in post-war Korea, one of our favorite playgrounds for all kinds of adventures was the mountain above our house called Chun Ma San, which meant 'Mountain of a Thousand Horses’.  

One summer afternoon, neighborhood Korean friends and we went hiking on the mountain.  One of our pastimes was to find boulders to roll down hill and see what kind of momentum they would build up. 

We found a giant boulder over six feet high that looked like it was moveable if we combined all of our strength together.  We all got behind it and started to strain and push to start it rolling. 

Well, it actually started to move.  That is when our childish hubris was suddenly replaced by sheer panic.  We realized that if this giant boulder started rolling and picking up speed, it wouldn't stop until it crushed a bunch of shanty houses and shacks below.  It could kill a bunch of people!

We all ran around to the front of the boulder to hold it back from rolling.  We all put our backs against it and strained for what seemed to be an eternity. 

"What do we do now?" 

"I don't know.  We can't let go." 

"We'll hold it and you find a big rock to brace it in front." 


Suddenly, the boy at the end shrieked in horror.   A very large black snake had slithered over his foot and was wending its way between our feet.  We all let go and took off running.  We did not look back, because we really did not want to know if the giant boulder was going to roll down the mountain. 


Our hearts were pounding and our mischievous little brains did not want to deal with the fact that we had gone too far.  Our consciences were screaming at us.  We did not stop until we got back down the mountain to our neighborhood. 

When we had caught our breaths, we looked up the mountain to see if the boulder was still in place.  To our total relief, it was still there.  The boulder of doom had not moved.  It had not crushed anyone.  What a relief! 

We went on playing for the rest of the afternoon until it started getting dark and parents were calling out for their children to come home and eat dinner. 

We all dispersed to our respective homes.  But, one of the parents kept calling for their son to come home.  This is when we realized that that boy had not been playing with us after we had come down the mountain. 

After eating, the neighborhood kids gathered outside again and started looking for our lost friend.  About two hours after dark, here he came, trudging down the mountain to the neighborhood. He was worn out and very angry with all of us. 

When we ran from the snake, he had stayed back and held up the boulder for hours until it got dark and he was too tired to push against the rock any longer.  When he finally let go to come home, the boulder shifted another inch or two and then stopped.

"We realized that if this giant boulder started rolling and picking up speed, it wouldn't stop until it crushed a bunch of shanty houses and shacks below.  It could kill a bunch of people!"

Woman picking through trash heap above shanty houses and shacks on the mountainside above my house.

Looking up at Chun Ma San Mountain from our house 

Thoughts by Sterling Hard


These many years later, when the memory comes to mind, it weighs heavily on me.   There are spiritual lessons to be learned that transcend the poor judgment, the impulsivity, and the obvious lack of good sense we children displayed.

In Proverbs 11:21, the Scriptures say: “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished; but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered”. 

So, we, as kids and adults, were punished with guilt; but, as children of Godly parents, we can be assured of delivery from permanent punishment. 

Looking back, it seems almost definite that angelic protection must have been present.  Paul asks rhetorically in Hebrews 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” 

And didn’t we and others who would inherit salvation, in grave danger, indeed need angelic protection?  As the Holy Bible promises in Isaiah 30:18, “The Lord longs to be gracious to you, He rises to show you compassion.”