“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
Last weekend Jarrett and I went hiking. The trails we took were relatively easy (I can’t do hard-core hiking with my legs) but one of them lead to a really pretty waterfall. I LOVE waterfalls. I love them so much that I’ve always said that when I get to Heaven, I really hope there will be waterfalls so that I can slide down them. Anyway, enough about my odd obsession with falling water…. We walked through some woods on a dirt path to the beautiful sight of the falls. Once arrived we walked a little further out onto some of the more slippery rocks to take a picture. (Don’t worry, friend, we were in no harm!) After snapping a couple pics, we turned around and headed back onto the path from which we came. Going back would be easier, right? Hahaha, nope.
Holding Jarrett’s hand, on we our merry way we went. He’s super good at hiking and doesn’t even have to look down to see where he’s going. He just hikes flawlessly. So, here I am, a klutz with leg problems, hanging tightly to his hand. Holding Jarrett’s hand gave me a false confidence that the hike would be easier and that his tight grasp would keep me from falling. On I hiked, hand in hand, looking towards my leader – and not at the rocks, and roots at my feet. So, what happened? I fell. Hard. It hurt pretty bad plus I was embarrassed because I was accompanied by an “expert hiker”.
After I got up and was able to continue down the path, I immediately thought of the analogy above that Jesus shares. Because of the fallen world we are in, the rains will fall, the floods will come, and the winds will blow against us – our faith. Throughout my life, I have seen many great people wonder from their faith, or turn away from it all-together. The interesting thing is, these people attended church, sat under pastors and even studied in school under doctors in theology. They were immersed in the Bible, they heard the words of Jesus over and over again. Every story is different, and I’m not about to make a blanket-statement for everyone, just FYI. But an observation is that many times people who are raised in the church have their parents, pastors or teachers’ faith to hold onto. Therefore, they go through life as long as possible hanging onto something that is not actually theirs. The betrayal, the sickness, the injustice does come. Then what?
On our hike I was holding onto something for my foundation and my guidance that was not actually mine. And I fell, badly. I was so distracted by this false sense of security that I forgot to look down at the path I was on, and plant my feet on firm rocks. Oh, friend, the same is all too easily true with our spiritual orientation. Learning from parents, pastors and teachers is a wonderful thing. But are we really taking the lessons and hiding them in our hearts, and applying them in our daily lives? Or are we listening and learning just enough to get by, but forgetting to continually look down the path God has set before us, and placing our feet firmly on our Rock?
Oh, friend, my prayer is that you will take the words of Jesus as building blocks to create an ever deepening faith in order to stay strong in this stormy world of ours. Non of us will be able to 100% stay firmly planted because no one is perfect. The temptations to look for our way apart from God’s plans are very, very real. You will fall, and so will I – I know I have already. But even when we fall and we miss an opportunity to firmly plant our feet, our God is a God of second, third, fourth etc, etc, etc chances. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!