December 7, 2016

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).

The storms will come—with hurricane force.

Jesus guarantees that “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). “[T]hey will lay their hands on you and persecute you (Luke 21:12a). The clouds will swell, and the thunder will roll. The lightning will strike and frighten. The rains will fall, and the floods will rush and rise. The wind will blow and beat against us, no matter where or how we hide, whether on rock and in sand. We cannot avoid or outrun sin and death because it resides inside us. We have fallen, and the whole world broke long ago.

Yet the Rock won’t move. The Rock does not move. He does not change or fail. Our all-knowing Architect has spread around and over us a shelter that will not fall, not even at the shaking and shouting of the weakened and weeping ones within. The stricken Cornerstone streams perpetual waters of atonement, absolution, and acceptance. Having already swallowed death down along with humankind’s guilt and buried it beneath His resurrection, Jesus Christ has no death left in Him and allows none near His own. Bravely and gratefully we keep sharing what He continues showing us, that all persons are worth it despite the cost and opposition, every one precious for His grace’s sake and not dependent upon appearance or age or ability. The Rock holds, and His house prevails.

He has christened this ark of ours for filling with neighbors instead of animals. Here we stand, not to look down on but to reach out to. For those around us whose foundations have flushed away, we get to shine light. We will fling Gospel doors open and invite in those drowning in deception, dread, and regret. Let us tear back all shades and throw up every window that anyone endangered by sin’s grip and death’s threats may be saved—and loved.