Faith Reflections

Faulty Foundations

I remember when I was a little girl attending Sunday School, church, Vacation Bible School and pretty much any other event or program that a church could offer. I learned a lot of things from these programs. I had the Bible stories down pat. I could recite a lot of verses. I was proficient in the use of craft sticks, glue, pipe cleaners and play dough. It is probably where my love for generic, sandwich cookies began and CNN has nothing on my magic wall – the flannel board.
house movedOne Bible story I remember hearing a lot was about the poor schmuck who built his house upon the sand. I mostly remember this story because of the song that went with it.

The wise man built his house upon the rock (3x)
And the rains came tumbling down.
the rains came down as the floods came up (3x)
And the wise man’s house stood firm.
The foolish man built his house upon the sand (3x)
And the rains came tumbling down.
the rains came down as the floods came up (3x)
And the foolish man’s house went splat.
So build your life on the Lord, Jesus Christ (3x)
And the blessing will come down.
the blessings come down as the prayers go up (3x)
So build your life on the Lord, Jesus Christ.

If you can’t remember the tune, here is a video where you can learn it AND the impressive actions that went along with the song. Seriously. Go watch. Or you can watch this “quality” animation about the story. Sometimes we can miss the weight of a lesson by dismissing it as a story for children. Sometimes we dumb down a parable of Jesus in an attempt to make it work for children. Here is the text from Matthew 7:24-27 (the Message):  

 24-25“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.
26-27“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.”

Hidden in this cutesy song is a mind-blowing, life-changing truth – the only solid foundation on which to build your life is God. Everything else and everyone else is sand.
In my life, there have been many individuals come and go. Some have been genuinely amazing people who are still in my life – like my family. People that I do count on and people who have been faithful. But they’re human and they can’t be what I need them to be. Their roles in my life have limits. There has also been a few people who I tried to build my life on and it was worse than sand – it was like quicksand. The same is true for trying to build a life upon dreams, what-ifs, ideals, careers, skills, intellect, reputation, etc. etc. These are all sand. They come and go. Some tumble at the first drop of rain; others can withstand some strong waves, giving a false sense of security. These things can make great accessories but they make horrible foundations on which to build.
I can say from experience that it is exhausting to try and keep your house afloat when the rains come because you chose to build your life on a weak foundation. Exhausting. And demoralizing. It sometimes feels like you’ve had the wind knocked out of you. Each time you have to look at the remnants of your life lying on the banks like debris from a hurricane, it gets a little harder to find the energy to rebuild.
If you are trying to start over again, if your foundation has crumbled under the pressure of a storm or two or three, I want you to know that you don’t have to rebuild alone. Our God is a Creator, a Sustainer, a Builder; His son, a Carpenter skilled in rebuilding lives; the Spirit, a Master Foreman who guides and directs. They are with you, tools in hand ready to help with the rebuild. Their only requirement in order to build is that you build your life on Them, the surest foundation.
Each day I have to remind myself constantly Who to put my trust in.  It is so tempting to put it in myself or my career or a relationship or my family. But I still feel vulnerable and I can feel my house shake at the slightest breeze.  That isn’t how I want to live my life. I don’t want to be so consumed with worry over my foundation that I never look up to enjoy what is happening around me. And when your foundation is faulty, believe me, that is exactly where your eyes are focused – scouring the area for cracks and fault lines desperate to keep it all together or ready to jump ship to something that looks sturdier.  When you are desperate, anything looks sturdier even if it isn’t.
Who or what have you built your life on? Have you ever had a foundation collapse on you? What happened next?


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