Lately I have had many conversations with people who just can’t seem to find the joy in the pain that James was talking about in chapter 1, verse 2. Their emotions range from anger at God to guilt for not feeling joy in the midst of the pain.
I was re-reading Matthew 7 the other day and I came across Jesus’ story of the wise man and the foolish man.
These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”
I think every other time I have read that passage in the past I came away with the idea that of course, those of us who built our houses on the Rock will come away still standing. But in light of all the conversations I have been having with people lately, I came away reminded of a foundational truth. Regardless of the foundation, the storm still comes. The difference is this, when we build our house on the rock, we don’t find ourselves also drowning in the flood waters like the owners of the sand house. Our home may be weather beaten. It may show signs of strain, but it doesn’t go floating down the river. The joy comes in understanding that we are still standing – That the Rock stood firm. We have to understand that the immovable object proved to be trustworthy and sure. Now, that doesn’t make waiting out the storm any less hard. It means we have hope instead of despair.
How are we as church leaders, small group leaders helping people set up their home on the Rock in the midst of the storm?