One night while we were in North Topsail Beach a huge storm rolled in. It was actually rather fun to watch. The sky turned an eery pinkish purple and the clouds became quite ominous.
While sitting on the back porch of our house, watching the wind and the waves, I noticed bolts of lightning in the distance. Mostly thanks to sheer luck, I was able to catch this bolt of lightning in the midst of the storm clouds.
I wish I was holding a real camera instead of my iPhone, but sometimes you just go with what you’ve got.
At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, after giving several chapters worth of instructions, Jesus said:
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, because it had been founded on the rock. 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, and great was the fall of it.”Matthew 7:24–27 ESV
I have always been amazed by these words of Jesus. When I was younger, didn’t really know Jesus, and was far more naive, I used to think that loving God meant that nothing bad would ever happen to you. Boy was I wrong!
I used to think that those who honored God would never have to face difficulty, and that anyone who faced difficulty was clearly not honoring God.
It feels silly to admit it, now, but that is how I used to think. Several decades later, now I know that nothing could be further from the truth!
Jesus said that those who put His words into practice would be like wise builders, and those who did not put His words into practice would be like foolish builders. But the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew against both the foolish and the wise builders’ house.
The wise builder, the one who followed Jesus’ words and honored God, did not escape the rain and the flood and wind.
So why bother to honor and follow God if you are just going to experience the same difficulty as those who do not honor or follow God?
The answer is clear. The wise builder did not escape the rain and the flood and the wind, but he was able to withstand the rain and the flood and the wind.
I have found the same to be true in my life.
Following Jesus has certainly not kept me free from the rain and flood and wind crashing against me, but I have found that His ways are always right and are always for my good (and for His glory). I have also become convinced that the reason my house hasn’t fallen is not so much because of I have put His words into practice, but because He has been with me as I attempt to put His words into practice.