Some of you might remember how last fall went for me. We moved three times between June and September, and we landed in a small dark house for six months while our permanent residence underwent a significant renovation. The kids were transitioning to new schools. Peter had a new job. I was in tears a lot of the time as I tried to figure out directions to new places and as I tried to remember things like school picture day (I forgot–twice) and as I tried to create some semblance of order in our lives. And William and I were fighting. A lot.
On the scale of serious calamities, last fall ranks up there with oh, say, the time I got stitches in my foot in fourth grade or the time I had the flu for two weeks. It was a year filled with “first-world problems” and the fact that I can sit at a computer and share those woes reeks of privilege. Still, it was hard. And in the midst of that time, a friend reminded me of Jesus’ parable of the man who built his house upon the rock:
“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.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
My kids were learning a Sunday School song about the same man, so last year I was reminded of it over and over again.
Here’s the thing. Last year, even in the midst of my paltry difficulties, I really wasn’t sure whether I was the person who had built my house on the rock or the one who had built it on sand. All I knew was that there was a storm in my life and I was hanging on for dear life. When I read this parable in the past, I envisioned a man with a glass of cabernet sitting in his well-appointed living room enjoying the lightning display outside. And maybe that’s how it went. Or maybe that guy was worried during the storm. Maybe he wondered if the house would hold up. Maybe he was huddled in the corner with a candle because there was no electricity and he had run out of food. Maybe a few windows shattered. Maybe shingles flew off.
Maybe it was only after the storm that he knew his house stood strong.
It seems somewhat self-congratulatory to say that we made it through our storm and the house stood firm, and that’s not the point of this post. And I suppose I could write this post as an admonition to make sure that the word of the Lord is your foundation, but that’s not what I’m getting at either. I write this only because I suspect some of you are in the storm right now, huddled in a corner, wondering if you will ever be able to turn on the lights and have a fire in the fireplace again. Wondering if the whole thing might just topple over. I write this to say, I am sorry for the storm you are enduring and hopeful that you have chosen to build your house upon a rock that will hold you up. I write this to say that the storm will pass, and the one who is the rock will remain.