-by Lee Lewis
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
As I grow in pastoral ministry, I see more and more the God-designed need in people for refuge. The Psalmist would say it this way, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge.” Genesis 1 and 2 paint an incredible picture of a God-designed dependency within Adam and Eve that is perfectly satisfied in God. What I see many times in my own life and the lives of others is a failure to realize the implications of a need for security and refuge in the Lord. Because of it, we seek a foundation to be planted on anything and everything but what God created it to be.
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus leaves no room for a neutral position on the matter – either you are planted on the rock or the sand. He is very clear that you will look for a foundation somewhere. We are secured, founded and fastened perfectly by God through a God-dependant heart. The self-dependent heart is not void of these needs for security, protection and peace; in fact, it is very much in search of these things. In other words, there is no neutral point when it comes to security. There are massive worship and idolatry implications at work.
Another thing that Jesus points out in this text is that the same storm hits both houses. I can remember singing a song in Sunday school about the rock, storm and sand. The song sure didn’t emphasize the storm hitting the house on the rock, but Jesus says storms will come, and those planted in Him will survive and even thrive. Those planted elsewhere will be destroyed. I would like to think that I am always planted on “the rock.” In terms of salvation, I believe this to be the case, and I believe the text is addressing salvation. However, many believers plant their trust in other things besides God, so this parable has implications for sanctification, too.
The question for the Christian then is this: What is exposed in your heart when a storm or trial (suffering) comes? It is in difficult moments that we see our peace being tied to something other than Christ. We see our need for security or protection, but do not go to the Author of peace. So in His grace, He sends a storm to expose misplaced affections and allegiances.
Jesus uses the picture of a house in a storm to show that He alone brings salvation. Our hearts long for and desperately need this salvation. In the Lord’s grace, He uses storms to reveal our deep need for Him and where we have planted our hopes. So rather than weathering the storm, would not it be better to prayerfully consider what is being revealed because of the storm?