What’s My Foundation?
Devastation, destruction, and death. That’s what Hurricane Matthew left behind. Hundreds of lives were lost and countless homes were literally washed away in Haiti and other Caribbean islands. Florida and the Atlantic coastline fared better, thanks to durable construction built by professionals with more advanced techniques and materials.
The images of structures leveled in Haiti remind me of a trip to rural Kenya where my son and fellow high school students actually built a home similar to the ones that I now see on the news As they constructed it, they slapped “cement” created from a dung and mud mixture to the wood-stick walls. With each handful of dirt, they were demonstrating their love to strangers half way around the world. But despite their good intentions and hard work, what we witnessed this week is that structures like these will not withstand hurricanes.
We know the storms of life will eventually arrive at our doorstep, and many of us strive to strengthen our own foundations to lessen the blow – whether it’s through building our portfolios, deepening our relationships, or focusing on our careers for stability. But many storms are beyond our control and cannot be avoided through external solutions. The death of a loved one, a chronic health issue, or the unexpected loss of a job can rock our world. It’s in those times that we need a strong foundation, something to hold on to beyond ourselves and even our loved ones. In his sermon titled "The Things that Blind Us" from Dec. 6, 2014, Traders Point Pastor Aaron Brockett said, “I adore my wife. I love her. She is my best friend. She is the best thing that ever happened to me. She is so much better than me. But she makes a crummy God. … It is just this reality that anything you build your life on, other than God, is ultimately a sandcastle and the tide is eventually going to come in.”
Jesus’ message was the same when He told the parable of the wise and foolish builder in His famous Sermon on the Mount. In it, the wise man built his house on rock so when, “the rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” The foolish man, on the other hand, “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 7:25-27)
It’s funny how when I read this sermon now, I realize that these were Jesus’ last words before he hit the road to begin healing and restoring lives. Coincidence? I think not! From beginning to end, Jesus’ life was very intentional with His words and actions, and He may well have wanted people to remember this lesson even more than the others. Jesus’ teachings in this sermon all culminated to this one story – it was the grand finale. In the words of my mom, it was “last but not least.”
Unfortunately, hurricane season is not over yet. And the clean-up from Matthew will continue for months to come. As I pray now for the people affected, I am once again reminded of how important it is to build my foundation on something that will withstand the storms of life – around and inside of me.
For me, this rock is my relationship with Jesus Christ centered on God’s Word, the only thing that is eternal.
What’s your foundation?