As a pastor, I frequently speak with people who are struggling with difficult providences in their lives. Many times the circumstances they face are so overwhelming and unrelenting that they are tempted to give up and turn away from the Lord. At these times, I have often pointed them (and myself too) to Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:24–27. These words, while familiar to most of us in the church, are nonetheless quite comforting, especially when we find ourselves in the midst of stormy providences.
I find it significant that both of the houses Jesus mentions in Matthew 7:24–27—the house built on the rock of Jesus and His Word and the house built on the sand (i.e., not built on Jesus and His Word)—go through stormy seasons. Jesus never says that the one who builds his or her life upon Him and His Word will escape the stormy seasons of life. On the contrary, both types of people—and Jesus only mentions two types of people here, because there are only two types of people—go through the storms. Both those who build their lives on Christ and His Word and those who do not will experience stormy seasons in their lives.
Our Own Feelings
I also find it significant that Jesus never says that the one who builds his or her life upon Him and His Word will never feel like the “house” will collapse. No doubt there will be times in our lives when we feel very much like our house will collapse altogether. The language Jesus uses here is actually quite graphic. He says in v. 25 (and again in v. 27) that the “winds blew and beat on that house.” I am sure that we can all imagine without too much difficulty the creaks and groans and various other noises that we would hear as the winds of the storm blew and beat against the house. Had we been in that house, we would have definitely felt like the walls were about to collapse at any moment.
The Promise of Christ
The point is that Jesus never promises that we will be spared the storms, and He never promises that we will always feel fine through the midst of the storms. But He does clearly promise that all who build their lives upon Him and His Word will never fall when those storms come upon us. No matter what it may feel like, we have this promise from the mouth of our Lord and Savior: the life built upon Jesus and His Word will weather the storms of life.
Let us not look to our feelings or to our senses in the midst of the storm; let us look to Christ and take Him at His word. For even though we may feel like we are losing our hold upon Him, He will never lose His hold upon us.
Dr. Guy M. Richard is executive director and assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta. He is author of several books, including Baptism: Answers to Common Questions.