Psychologists chart stress factors related to various kinds of emotional trauma and the response of different people to those factors—death, divorce, job loss, illness and such, which threaten the very foundations of people’s lives. What can hold us at such times?
In a simple story Jesus showed the secret of stability. One man comes to Jesus, hears Him and acts on what he hears. He is like the man who builds a house on solid rock. Another man hears (is exposed to the same truth, given equal opportunity) but does not act (does not choose to act) on the word he hears. Jesus said he is building a house on sand. When floods come, when “the river burst[s] upon it” (Luke 6:49), the house collapses and falls with a great crash.
What sort of floods was He talking about? What rivers might be likely to burst over a man’s house? Surely He meant the stresses of life, not terribly different from the stresses we experience, anything that shakes the foundations. It is at such times that we become aware of what those foundations are. Have we laid them on the Rock that never moves; or have we, merely by not obeying the word we have heard, been laying them on sand? That sand is the self – shifty, unstable, carried back and forth by conflicting currents (popular opinion, for example?), utterly undependable and incapable of holding up under pressure.
Lead me, Lord, to the Rock that is higher than I. Let me hear Your word, give me grace to obey, to build steadily, stone upon stone, day by day, to do what You say. Establish my heart where floods have no power to overwhelm, for Christ’s sake, Amen.
**Excerpt originally published in A Lamp Unto My Feet, pg.190-191.