When I was in second grade, I sang a solo for the first time, and these were the words:
“Don’t build your house on the sandy land, Don’t build it too near the shore,
Oh, it might look kinda nice, but you’ll have to build it twice, Oh, you’ll have to build your house once more.”
It comes from Jesus’ story about the wise man building his house on the rock, and the foolish one on the sand. But this didn’t matter to me. What mattered to me was that I had a maroon velvet dress borrowed from a rich girl, and my mom curled my hair, and I was going to be on stage, which was my favorite place.
But thirty years later, the dress is gone, the curls are gone, and the stage is gone. The only thing that remains is the song. It turns out that while I focused very little on what I was singing, somehow it burned down into me, carved itself on my heart.
What’s funny about this is that my whole life, I knew that story, the wise man and the foolish man, the sand and the rock, the rain and the storms, and I never understood what it meant. Oh, I sang the song plenty of times-
The wise man built his house upon the rock,
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
And the rains came tumbling down…
-But I never understood it. It seemed like a silly nursery rhyme.
This tells you how much of a ditz I can be. Because in Matthew 7, Jesus is extremely clear about what it means.
“Those people who are listening to Me, those people who hear what I say and live according to My teachings—you are like a wise man who built his house on a rock, on a firm foundation. 25 When storms hit, rain pounded down and waters rose, levies broke and winds beat all the walls of that house. But the house did not fall because it was built upon rock. 26 Those of you who are listening and do not hear—you are like a fool who builds a house on sand. 27 When a storm comes to his house, what will happen? The rain will fall, the waters will rise, the wind will blow, and his house will collapse with a great crash.”
(This is taken from The Voice, by the way, a new translation that I find makes things way more understandable.)
Anyway. I was in my twenties before it clicked. I was singing the song to my own kids…
“Soooooo build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ!
Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ…”
And suddenly…. Oh! Sand and the Rock!
Your life is built on sand when you base it on wisdom from the world- Oprah or your friends, pop psychology or the school guidance counselor. It might look kinda nice, but when troubles come, when disaster hits, everything falls apart. Your marriage is rocky- because you get your counsel from your friends. Your kids drive you nuts- but you do what Parenting magazine tells you to do! Your inner self is exhausted… even though you are following some Pinterest printable of workouts and cleaning. Trouble comes, and nothing holds up. Everything falls apart.
But when we build our life on the Lord, that means we choose to build our life on what we find in the Bible, and what we learn from the people who are more mature in faith, and what we hear the Lord speaking to us from the inside. Then, when something major hits, nothing tumbles down. We have a firm foundation, and we can’t be shaken.
Build your life on the Rock.
I don’t know why it took me so long to understand the meaning of this simple parable. Because to be honest, I think I lived like I knew it.
Somehow in my teens, at that point in life when everyone starts deciding who they want to be when they grow up, I looked at Christian adults- real Christian adults, who lived like they believed- and I decided to go that way.
As I made decisions about what movies to watch, what friends to hang out with, and what jobs to apply for, I see now that I was trying to line up with what I knew would please the Lord. I built my life on the Rock.
I didn’t do it perfectly. No, no no no…. Not even close.
But I do try. Because I believe that the Lord’s way is the best way.
I think it’s the beginning of real Christianity. To say, I believe that God is good, that He loves me, and his way is the best way, and then to LIVE like you believe that.
Anyway. Everything in my life starts with that. All the discussions and questions in my heart, whether they’re about velvet dresses or who I should marry- boil down to these: What is God’s way here? What would please Him? Because I know that if I can answer those questions, I can answer everything else. And the result is that when trouble comes, I can go to the Rock. I can find peace in the storm. My world doesn’t crumble.
So what do you build your life on? Are you checking your decisions against what the Lord wants, what pleases him? Or are you building things on sands that will shift and crumble?
When the storms come, what will happen?