Unshakeable- Can't Stop, Won't Stop

iStock-1365921266Unshakeable- Can't Stop, Won't Stop

 

This week, we’re wrapping up our blog series, Unshakeable. If you haven’t read the previous blogs, I encourage you to do so.

Did you ever hear the children’s song about the wise man and the foolish man?

Here are the lyrics in case you’ve forgotten them or never learned them.


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 rains came tumbling down.

The rains came down and the floods came up,

The rains came down and the floods came up,

The rains came down and the floods came up,

But the house on the Rock stood firm.

The foolish man built his house upon the sand,

The foolish man built his house upon the sand,

The foolish man built his house upon the sand,

And the rains came tumbling down.

The rains came down and the floods came up,

The rains came down and the floods came up,

The rains came down and the floods came up,

And the house on the sand fell flat.


Maybe you watched a Veggie Tales video or sang it in kids’ church.

While it’s a children’s song, it is very applicable to our message about how to remain Unshakeable – specifically having an unshakeable foundation.

As FEMA puts it, “Hurricane Katrina proved that, without strong foundations, homes on the coast can and will be destroyed.”

To give a more recent example, I just ran across a story about the recent damage in Florida from Hurricane Ian and watched videos of the hurricane literally sweeping homes off their foundations in Fort Myers.

Furthermore, the first tip given to home buyers in earthquake zones is to “bolt your house to the foundation.” In fact, the damage to homes by earthquakes is deemed so severe that “many insurance companies stopped insuring earthquakes in the 1990s after projections suggested that a major earthquake could potentially bankrupt them.” So those who call California home need earthquake insurance in addition to standard homeowners’ insurance.

We could face a natural disaster, such as hurricane or earthquake, that upends our lives, but there will be many more metaphorical storms and earthquakes that we must endure throughout our lives.

If we’ve learned anything over the last couple of years, it’s that life really can change in an instant.

Systems break down. Relationships break up. Viruses break out.

Trouble can occur any time and any place, so we have to ask questions such as…

  • What keeps you grounded when stuff hits the fan?
  • What do you fall back on when life gets tough?
  • What anchors you down and keeps you level-headed?

Unfortunately, many people anchor themselves with things that will not hold strong during life’s biggest storms.

We cannot stand firmly on anything which is swayed by the winds of trend, emotion, circumstance, or societal ideologies. We need something that is dependable, unchanging, and far superior over what’s happening around us.

Frail Ground Makes Frail People: Distractions and Codependency

When life gets hard, people tend to fall back on two things – distractions and other people. But these things are frail.

First of all, running, avoiding, or trying to escape from what’s happening in your life is not healthy and it will not heal you.

Trying to fill your mind with other things is done in hopes that the “other things” will bring you some kind of peace and solace. These things may provide temporary fun and light-heartedness, but at best, they serve as distractions.

Sure, you can binge-watch season three of whatever series you’re currently hooked on. And a glass of wine may seem like the best way to detach for the moment. But what you find afterward is that, while these things may help take your mind off everything that’s happening in your life right now, they do not actually heal you, restore you, or fix anything.

The other frail ground is leaning on another person or group of persons, but this usually leads to what we often deem as codependency.

Other people cannot be your rock to stand on. Whether it be your family, your friends, your therapist, your church community group, your president, or your favorite co-worker.

Having something strong and dependable to hold you up is necessary for flourishing amid trial – and that won’t be anything you’re distracting yourself with, nor will it be other people.

Steady Ground Makes Steady People


“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27


You need something firm to keep you grounded when everything is falling apart.

This type of security starts at the foundation. In other words, standing firm will depend on what you’ve built your life on.

That said, you can’t be shocked that your life is a mess when you have built your life on all the wrong things. Still, if you have set your life on a trustworthy and steady rock, you can trust that, though troubles may come your way, you will stand securely.

Jesus teaches this principle as he closes his Sermon on the Mount.

In Jesus’ short story, he talks about two different men – the wise man and the foolish man. This is the story where we get the children’s song.

The wise man had a good foundation. His house was built on the rock.

When the rain fell and the flood came and the winds blew, his house endured because it had a strong foundation.

In contrast, the foolish man did not have a good foundation. He built his house on sand.

Anyone who knows anything about anything knows that you shouldn’t build a house on sand.

When the rain fell and the flood came and the winds blew, his house crumbled to the ground in unbelievable measure because it did not have a strong foundation.

Faith as Foundation

Now, you may be asking yourself what exactly provides the type of strong foundation you need to survive the storms of life? The answer is simple: faith and obedience to Jesus.

Jesus in this parable is teaching his disciples and teaching us today that He is that very rock which will hold you fast.

The only sure difference that we read between the wise man and the foolish man in today’s main text is that wisdom requires listening to the words of Jesus and then putting them into practice, while foolishness is simply listening to the words of Jesus and not choosing to put them into practice.

You need a real, tangible, active, solidified faith.

Faith that hears God’s instruction but does not actually take him at his word will not be enough to hold you. Faith that perseveres is when you have built a deep well of life and friendship in God through scripture, prayer, rest, and practice.

Is your faith just words? Is your faith just an adoption of whatever your parents raised you in? Or is it fully real to you? Is it something you’d risk your life for? Is it something you’d forsake your comfort for? Is it something you’d testify to a stranger about?

That’s the kind of faith that leaves you standing tall when rain falls, and floods come, and winds blow.


Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:58