Wednesday, June 15, 2011

House on the rock

On the nights the kids are on pace to get to bed at a decent hour, we read books before we say prayers and go to sleep. They each get to pick out one kids book and a story from one of their children's Bibles. The other night they both chose a different story out of the same picture story Bible. The last one we read was a "new one" (as opposed to the same favorites we tend to read over and over). It was the parable Jesus told contrasting the house that was built on the rock to the house that was built on the sand.

This is the passage from Matthew 7:24-28, " 'Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.' When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching..."

I can't remember the last time I read or even thought about this parable though I've come across similar truths in Psalms quite a bit lately. I love reading these popular "children's Bible stories" and being reminded of how relevant they are to me.

I feel very blessed that I have not experienced the number or severity of storms that some have been subject to, though I am sure my turns will come in time. But I have observed people in my life who have built their house on the rock and others who have built their house on the sand. I'm sure everyone thinks they are building their house (life) on a rock. Who would knowingly and purposely build their life on hopeless lies that crash you down when things gets rough? But the aftermath of a storm is the proof of whether someones foundation was built on rock or sand.  I love that this passage defines what the rock is so no one has to wonder. Building your life's foundation on the rock means hearing (or reading) Jesus' words AND putting them into practice. 

I've witnessed the lives of those whose foundations are built on Jesus and the truth of his Word as they've endured some seriously crazy storms that I do not envy. Yet their hope, joy, peace and confidence has remained strong. It is such an encouragement to me as I strive to build a strong foundation, waiting for the next storm. It confirms what I've been reading about joy in the midst of suffering as I study Philippians.

At the same time I am saddened when I see so many others I know get beat on by fierce storms and they fall apart - they drown in depression, hopelessness, sadness, fear, and worry. Apparently their foundation was built on the sand - other personal relationships, careers, money, materialism, religion, psychology, politics, etc. While these "materials" can all be used to build a wonderful house, they make a lousy foundation and are as stable as sand during the big storms.

Within the past year I participated in a comprehensive study of the book of Isaiah. Throughout the book there is continual repetition about many of the characteristics of God and his nature that are especially relevant when going experiencing life's storms. Many times I was tempted to think, "This doesn't apply to me right now. Yeah, yeah, I get it. Let's move on already." At the same time I knew and understood that it was all part of the process of strengthening my foundation. Though I may not have felt the need to cling to certain truths about God during the study, I knew that I needed them beat into my mind and heart so that I will not forget them when I will need them.

Whatever storms may blow and beat against me, I know my foundation has been and is being built on the rock, therefore I will not fall. I love you, Lord. You are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my protection, my salvation. My God is my rock. I can run to him for safety. He is my shield and my saving strength, my high tower. (King David agreed in Psalm 18:1-2.)

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