Jesus says: Stand through the Storm

Trials are simply a part of life.

No matter who your daddy is, how much money you have in the bank, or what country you were born in, there is simply nothing you can do in this life to avoid suffering.  Suffering comes to us all.

Suffering is such a huge part of life that the leader of another major world religion once said, "All life is suffering," and then spent much of the rest of his life expounding on finding a way to minimize it.

And while I wouldn't quite go so far as Buddha to say that all of life is suffering, if you live long enough, you'll recognize that there is a lot of suffering in this world, and that some of that suffering always manages to find its way into all of our lives in one form or fashion.

Instinctively knowing these things, a lot of what we do in our lives is done in order to proactively combat suffering.

For example, the typical American life is built around the idea of chasing a dream that involves not suffering.  It's built into the very creed of America, and part of our national DNA:  "...life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  And much of the decisions we make in this life, like where we go to school at, what we study, who we marry, the career we choose, who we vote for, and the reasons why we ultimately go to war with other nations, all these things are driven, in part, because we think by making certain choices that we will be able to largely enjoy life, and minimize the degree to which suffering factors into our daily experience.

And some people are really good at this game.  As a result, some become so insulated to a lot of the troubles of this life, and a lot of their troubles consist of what has been laughably classified on the internet as "First World Problems" or #FirstWorldProblems (for those of you who like hashtags).  

Such #FirstWorldProblems might include:

  • "I'm upset that my selfie stick doesn't work with my new cell phone case."
  • "There was simply too much food at my Super Bowl party."
  • "I have a closet full of clothes... but nothing to wear."
  • "My car doesn't even have seat warmers."
  • "None of the movies added to Netflix this month are very appealing."
  • "My cookie won't fit in my glass of milk."
  • "My mom is friends with me on Facebook."

But no matter how hard we try to avoid suffering, storms are destined to enter our life just the same, no matter who we are and what we do.  At some point in our lives, no matter how hard we try, we will all inevitably suffer a job loss, a social injustice, become the victim of a random crime, have our health fell us, have a friend betray us, or lose a loved one.  And in the end, all of us will eventually die.

A storm is always coming.  But how we respond to the coming storm, and the outcome of that storm, is not always the same.

Knowing this is the fate of all men everywhere, Jesus closed out His teaching on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:24-27) by telling a story about two men. Both men were men who heard His teachings, and both of them were men who ultimately faced a terrible storm.  But between hearing the teachings of Jesus and enduring a terrible storm, both men built a house.  But the difference between the two men was the choice of the foundation that they both built their house upon.  One man built his home on a rock hard foundation.  The other man built his home on sand.  And when the storm came, and it came to both of them, the man who built his house on a sturdy foundation endured the storm, whereas the one who built his home on the sand ultimately suffered the destruction of everything in his life.

Jesus says in this story if we want to be men whose lives endure the coming storm, and know how to truly live life, we need to become men who build our lives on the hard and rock solid foundation of His teachings, and putting them into practice.  

Because if we build our lives on anything else, be it the teachings of Buddha, the homespun wisdom of our grandparents, the sage like musings of the rabbi's, or something we heard Oprah and Dr. Phil say on TV, then we are doing nothing but ultimately setting ourselves up for failure.  

And that's not to say these guys and gals don't have a lot of great things to say.  Sometimes they do.  You can build a house on it, just as the man in Jesus's story did.  But at the end of the day, what they have to say doesn't have much to it, and is prone to easily shifting around.  So while you can build a house on it, that house will never have a firm foundation.  It will always lack a certain trustworthiness, and will ultimately prove itself fleeting when the storms of life ultimately do come.

So if you are going through a storm and want to not only survive it, but thrive even after it is over, Jesus says we need to simply put His words into action in our daily lives.  

We need to find that Jesus Christ alone is the firm foundation that we must ultimately build our lives upon. And trusting in Him and who He is and what He has done, with great confidence we can build our lives on Him and what He has said.  

Things won't always be pretty.  We are going to face some brutal storms.  But with Jesus Christ as our firm foundation, He will support us the entire way, and ultimately make us to stand strong through whatever comes against us.  

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