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Withstanding Storms

October 16, 2010

Ever been in a storm? The kind of storm that makes you wonder if you are going to live through it?  I have.  In 1983 my husband and I left Oklahoma and moved to the great state of Texas.  My husband was a football coach and well, we all know that high school football in Texas is huge so we packed our things up and moved to the Spring area, just outside of Houston.

Storms in Oklahoma are legendary.  Tornados are something you just learn to live with.  You hear the sirens and look for cover.  The threat of tornados was one of the few things I was glad to leave behind.  No tornados in Houston! Nope, I didn’t have to worry about those pesky things.

During the middle of August, our local weatherman began to talk about a tropical storm that was named Alicia.  It was making it’s way to the coast of Texas.  I wasn’t that worried because I had gone to high school in Bryan, Texas which was about 90 miles west of Spring and I didn’t ever remember a hurricane hitting Houston, much less coming as far inland as Spring. My attitude began to change when I went to the grocery store and witnessed a stampede of shoppers filling up their baskets with bottled water, batteries, flashlights, cardboard, and tape.  When in Rome, do what the Romans do, so I started grabbing stuff off the shelf (the only bottled water left was Perrier!).  I didn’t know if Alicia would make it to my neighborhood, but I was going to be prepared.

Early in the morning on August 18th, my husband left our house to travel to Conroe (about 20 miles north of our house) to attend bus-driving school, something that was required for all coaches.  I stayed home glued to the TV watching the weather.  About an hour after he left it began to rain very hard.  Soon after, the electricity went out.  I had no way of knowing if the storm would make it to my house without a weather report (this was way before public Internet and cell-phones) so I went out to my driveway and sat in the car so that I could listen to the radio.  My biggest fears were being realized.  Alicia not only was upgraded to a hurricane but she was headed directly my way.

My husband made it home about two hours after he left the house. We are tough in Texas, but not tough enough to practice driving school buses during a hurricane!  When he got home he found me in the hallway with a twin mattress over my body.  By this time, the winds were extremely volatile. The tall pine trees were bending almost in half.  Those trees would do some serious damage to houses in my neighborhood and I wasn’t taking any chances that one wouldn’t fall right through the middle of our house.

A tornado can be deathly freighting.  They come up suddenly and are extremely unpredictable.  But they usually pass quickly. Not so with a hurricane.  I spent most of the day under that mattress.  Every once in a while I would get the courage to peek out the window to look at the pine trees behind our house.  As the storm passed over, I saw the trees bend in the direction of the storm.  I could literally track the storm passing over us by looking at the trees.

We were lucky.  The trees around us did not fall on our house.  We survived the storm but it was a very long day.  We had no communication with the world and the storm was all around us.   It was a day I will never forget.

In Matthew, Jesus uses such a storm to illustrate an important truth.  It is found in Matthew 7: 24-27. Jesus is finishing the Sermon on the Mount by warning His disciples to beware of false prophets.  He warns them

that not everyone who says, ’Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”

He then tells them the famous parable about the wise and foolish builders.  The wise man built his house upon the rock and when

the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall for it had been founded on the rock.”

The foolish man built his house upon the sand, and when

the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; it fell—and great was its fall.”

Jesus was reminding His disciples that it’s not our words that please Him, but rather our actions.  Our actions reveal what we have built our life upon. Earlier in 7:16-17 He tells the disciples,

“You will know them by their fruits.  Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit”.

Why does He use the storm to illustrate this, because only storms reveal the quality of the work of the builder.  If a tree had fallen on my house, we would have seen whether the builder built my house sturdy enough to withstand a hurricane.  When we listen to Christ’s teachings and practice them, we will be able to stand with Him in the midst of the storm.  Obeying God deepens the root and strengthens the foundation (Matthew 13:20-21) so that when a storm hits us, our life, in the midst of the storm, will reflect His work in us.

We all would like to go through life without facing storms.  That isn’t going to happen. We may face sickness, betrayal, addiction, or loss of a loved one but we can prepare for these storms by laying a strong foundation by studying His Word and obeying His commands. This will enable us to demonstrate His craftsmanship when the storm hits.  My prayer is that when life’s storms hit me, you will see good fruit even when the trees are falling all around.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. whileontheway permalink
    October 16, 2010 9:03 PM

    Beautiful analogy Jennifer. Dave and I lived through a big storm in our lives a couple of years ago. It is only when life squeezes you that you find out what is inside. It is the second time in my life that I wondered if I would survive such a trial. But God is so faithful and I can truly say with all confidence that I live daily in a place of grace and I wouldn’t have it any other way!!
    Thank you fir writing…keep it up!
    Joy McInnis

  2. Jennifer permalink*
    October 16, 2010 9:49 PM

    Thanks Joy. I too can testify that this is true.

  3. jamee permalink
    October 17, 2010 8:47 PM

    “Obeying God deepens the root and strengthens the foundation” – LOVE this! So true. Without the storms, we’ never see the rainbows. Cliche’ but true. As I travel thru tough times on this journey of life, I feel so much more secure holding onto Jesus, like a mattress over my head 🙂

    Thank you for writing. I love your insights!

  4. Stephane permalink
    December 13, 2010 7:21 PM

    Jennifer,

    I pulled your comment into my heart regarding the builder, strength of the structure, and the significance of the storm. His Word is true. You are a blessing.

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