When Jesus finished his Sermon on the Mount, he concluded with a parable about being a committed follower. A parable is a story that involves taking something that is familiar and lying it beside something that is not familiar so you can learn a truth. The story describes two extreme settings. Two houses are built, one on rock and the other on dirt. Then the storm comes and beats both houses, but only one house is left standing—the one built on rock. Our lives will stand or fall depending on our faith and obedience to Jesus’ words (Luke 6:46-49).
The story is about the storms of life that assail us, and when they do, the only way we can withstand them is whether or not we have a foundation built on Christ. Jesus made it clear that he identified authentic disciples as those who listened and understood his words and then put them into practice. Storms are a part of life, and we cannot avoid them, but we can be prepared to weather them out.
The following story illustrates literally and figuratively how sudden storms appear. This happen to us early in our missionary career. One day an incredible storm swept down from the Andes Mountains and brought torrential rains in which the streets of our neighborhood became literal rivers. That day I had left for a short trip, but seeing the dark clouds I turned around and headed for home. By the time I made it to our street, the car was in knee deep water and had to be abandoned. Fighting the swift current of the water to stand up, I struggled the next few blocks until I made it to our home on calle Peru. Once I finally found our house in wet darkness, I could see water running out of the front door. When I went in, I found Marilyn had our two kids sitting on the bed while she was fighting a losing battle with the water.
There had been storms like this before, but our home had never been flooded. Our house would be flooded two more times before we figured out how to solve the problem. Directly behind our house were four more houses, and because of the slope of the land, their water was draining onto our property. We eventually came to realize our house was literally the drain for all the other neighbors. On top of that problem, we were shocked to learn that one neighbor was choosing to empty his huge swimming pool during the storm.
Solving this problem seemed impossible, and it was so discouraging to think about moving, as it was difficult and costs were prohibitive. First of all, the landlord refused to do anything about the problem. Once we determined we were staying, however, we decided to build a brick wall with cement columns all the way across the back of our property. That not only took care of our water problem, but it also caused all the neighbors to have to find another way to drain their excess water to the streets rather than using our house as their handy drain.
When the storm came, it seemed to sweep away our hopes and left us so demoralized. We learned however, it was simply a test of our will to stay faithful to God. It was an opportunity to show that our faith was built on the solid rock of Christ and not the sinking sand.