Weathering the Storms of Life (Matthew 7:24-29)
If you look at the road ahead, what do you see?
In my future, I see happy and healthy years with my wife, quiet and beautiful children sleeping soundly within the comfort of a new home, and a fulfilling career as a writer and a pastor who helps others know Jesus better.
What are the important mile markers in your journey ahead? Take a few moments to imagine them.
Now, what’s missing? What is conveniently absent from your vision of life in the years to come?
Joy? Peace? Health? Success? They are all there.
What is missing from our daydreams are the storms. The movie trailer version of our future doesn’t include storms, but our omission of them does not mean we will bypass them later.
It’s a well-established fact that no matter who you are or what kind of life you live, storms will come. For some of us, the storm is already here, banging on the door like an angry criminal.
The question is not “will storms come in our lives?”, the question is, “how do we survive when they do?”
Jesus told a powerful story about life and storms. In Matthew 7:24-29 he made pointed comments about the lives of a wise homebuilder and a foolish one. The wise one builds his house on the rock, the foolish builds on the sand. You may remember this story, but if not, it doesn’t take an English major to decipher the imagery Jesus employed. The rock is a solid foundation and the sand is not. When the storms come, the wise man’s foundation proves solid. The foolish man is not so fortunate.
But despite the details about the builders’ differences, Jesus’ story has one constant: the storm.
Unfortunately, our response to this reality is usually not to take Jesus’ advice in the face of the inevitable. Instead, as one of my pastors, Bryan Eckelman, pointed out recently, we work very hard to avoid the unavoidable.
Eckelman observed that we often build stronger buildings, drive safer cars, and move from the inner city to gated communities. We take preventive medicine and save retirement funds. We scrub our hands with anti-bacterial wipes after touching a doorknob and before getting behind the wheel of a grocery cart.
We’re so addicted to the idea of storm-free life that we have tried to inoculate ourselves – but face it brother and sister, the storm’s coming. We may not know when or what kind, but it is coming. So I repeat the question: how do we survive when storms come?
Jesus’ answer is clear: “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house solid rock….But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.” (Matthew 7:24, 27)
Jesus said the firm foundation, for a life that can withstand the storms, is obedience to him.
I turn to John 16:33 and read Jesus’ words to his disciples as they faced a giant storm: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
In the storm, and as I prepare for the storm, I remember that God moved through the disciples’ obedience, not simply their belief. By him they weathered a kind of storm few of us have ever faced, and because of it we are here today with an opportunity to build our house on the same firm foundation they did, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Are you one who listens and obeys? How’s your house holding up in the storms of life?
Read an earlier post by Chris here.