The Coming Storm
Matthew 7:24-27 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall… And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell…
When I started working in the Emergency Room, I was struck by how often tragedy ocurred. I remember thinking, My day will come. It is inevitable. As time passed and tragedy did not brush too near me personally, disaster became routine.
Jesus insists however, that it is not a question of if the storm will come to me, but when it will come. He does not promise the easy life for those who follow God. The world is broken and I do not escape its brokenness when I follow him. Jesus here, explains what following God then means.
Before I come to God, I am focused on me. All my meaning, purpose and pursuits are focused on that which I desire. Thus, all my meaning and purpose are based on that which is fallible, insecure, and completely unstable. This is inevitably destructive when the storm comes and my foundation fails. Calamity is coming to us all. So, the question is, What is my foundation? If my focus is on self and world, I will be wrecked.
The unbeliever will be quick to point out that I only need God because I am so weak. To this, I say, Yes, I am a mess and I need God. I cannot imagine what I would have done with my addiction without God. When my career and family seemed to be disappearing and I had no guarantee of their return, my foundation seemed unstable indeed. My life unraveled.
This is why Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac and it is why Jesus told the rich young ruler to give away his wealth. They had both, like me, built a foundation on something other than God and thus, were on a path to destruction. Jesus always insists that I build my life not on sand, but on rock.
The challenge of course is to build my foundation during times of calm. It is during times of calm however, that self-sufficiency tempts me the most. So, everyday, I need to choose to build my life on God. I need to daily turn to him, reading, praying, meditating and following.
In my destruction, I was thankful for what foundation in God that I did have, though I have to believe that building a better foundation is the path to avoiding the self-inflicted storms. I cannot however, avoid all of life’s ruin, so today, I will build my life on God, in preparation for the coming storm.