Just as I went to bed one night last week, it started storming. Thunder rattled the windows and rain battered the roof. Did I lie awake in bed, worrying about the effects of the storm? Did I think my house might go splat? No. In fact, I probably went to sleep faster because the sound of rain relaxes me. I have the freedom to relax in a storm because I know my house is solid and the weatherproofing on my windows is strong.
Jesus knew what a big storm feels like. We have documentation of his presence in a couple of storms (e.g. Matthew 8), and I imagine he lived through many others before His ministry became public. Jesus had this fantastic ability to take the everyday “stuff of life” and use it to instruct his listeners…and us. That’s what He did with the storm. Toward the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us a parable (which is an analogy or word picture presented as a short story) to help us understand the importance of His teachings (Matthew 7:24-27/Luke 6:46-49). Many, many years later, someone (we’re not sure who) created this children’s song about it. Let’s dig into the parable and song for a minute to see what parents can take away from what’s seemingly “just” a children’s song.
The wise man built his house upon the rock The wise man built his house upon the rock The wise man built his house upon the rock And the rain came tumbling down The rain came down and the flood came up The rain came down and the flood came up The rain came down and the flood came up But the house on the rock stood firm The foolish man built his house upon the sand … And the rain came tumbling down The rain came down and the flood came up … And the house on the stand went SPLAT!
We can assume these two men are equally dedicated to their task, using quality materials and excellent craftsmanship. We can assume they equally desire to protect and comfort their families.
What’s the difference between them? Below the foundations of their homes, they have different substrata. It wouldn’t even be apparent at first. Both families move in. Both families throw housewarming parties. But at some point, a huge storm comes. As the rain beats against the windows and the shutters creak in the wind, one house hangs on…possibly a bit worse-for-wear, maybe a few shingles missing and a cracked window pane, but still solid. The other house? Well, it goes SPLAT!
The parallel is hard to miss. The conviction needs little explanation. What’s under your family?
It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into parenting if your foundational faith system is misplaced. Think how much time and money the foolish man wasted because he built in the wrong place, on the wrong soil. Your family may look good and function well for a while, but eventually—when the inevitable difficulties arise (a.k.a. storms)—your Pinterest-worthy family structure will crumble. You can provide your own examples. I know you’ve seen it happen.
On the other hand, parents who rely primarily on God’s direction (through His Word) will weather the difficulties and stand tall against the storms. They may have to fight, and they may come out with some scars (Trust me, I know.), but they survive intact. Not because they are better than the other families but because they located their family structure on the One and Only Solid Rock.
Maybe you didn’t start your family on the Solid Rock. Maybe shifting sand better characterizes your first years of marriage and/or parenting. There’s good news: it’s not too late! Like those big trucks that come in and move existing houses to new locations, your family can resettle. It’s painful and might require some major upheaval, but it’s possible. I know a family who did it well!
This admonition from Jesus is certainly for all believers, but there’s a similar warning just for women.
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. -Proverbs 14:1
Two random things in my mind now:
- “The Three Little Pigs.” Anyone else reminded of them? No? Hmm… Might be a good lead-in to a discussion of this parable with your children.
- My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less by Edward Mote, is a “grown up” hymn based on the same parable. It’s one of the best!
Want to share your story? Please leave your response in the comments!
Attribution: unknown, public domain
Previously in this series:
Still to come:
- Father Abraham
- My God is So Big