Yesterday I drove along the coast of Florida, up through Port St. Joseph, Panama City, and the surrounding coastal towns. It breaks my heart to think of all the people there who were affected by Hurricane Michael. Houses crushed down to the foundation, family heirlooms and mementos ripped away by the rushing water, and truck after truck of cleanup crews scooping up the rubble – a constant reminder of all that was lost.
As I was pulling away from town, I found myself on a road that prior to this devastating hurricane must have been a beautiful tree lined drive. Instead it was mile after mile of broken long leaf pines, a reminder of what occurred only a few short months ago.
While I was looking at the wreckage, I found it interesting how the broken trees faced different directions. It looked as though most broke when the rushing wind and waves came barreling through, snapping them in half midway up the trunk, I can only imagine the sounds that were echoing during that time. But I also noticed how some of the trees fell not during the initial onslaught but afterward when the water rushed back out to sea. Yet in the midst of all this brokenness, some still stood tall.
How accurately this describes situations in our lives! Situations where we are blindsided by trouble we didn’t even see coming. If we have not established ourselves and our character, and if we have not at least prepared for trouble it can break us at first touch. But what about when we have prepared? What about the times when the trouble hits and we stand firm – yet it is the after shock that tears us down? The continuous pressure that doesn’t let up and slowly erodes our foundation?
In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus talks about the wise and foolish builders – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
When you build your life’s foundation on Christ, on truth, and with integrity, He gives a strength that will help you to stand firm in the eye of trouble. You will face trouble, everyone does, and sometimes you will stumble, sometimes you will fall flat on your face. But when that happens, when your foundation is in Christ, you are not broken, you are not lost and directionless, rather there is healing and restoration in His arms.
When we have Christ as our foundation God will use the trouble we face to strengthen our character, He will use every circumstance to help us to grow, so we can see and learn the depth of His love for us. Just as those few trees experienced the same onslaught as the others and remained standing, when your life is built on the solid rock of Christ and your focus is on Him, He will give you the strength to remain standing!