By now you have undoubtedly seen the sobering pictures of the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy as it smashed into the northeastern coast of the United States. Some experts are predicting the damage from this monster storm will exceed $50 billion, making this the second most expensive storm in history, exceeded only by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. At one point over 7 million people were without electrical power, and air transportation around the world was disrupted as all three major New York City area airports were under water.
As the authorities survey the devastation caused by the storm, we continue to be struck by the magnitude of this disaster. We daily see new pictures of highways covered with sand; entire neighborhoods reduced to ashes by infernos firefighters were unable to reach; piles of rubble that once housed the memories and dreams of people much like ourselves.
In the midst of all of the physical destruction, it is the human tragedies that touch us most deeply. We feel the heartache as we see people staring in stunned silence at the pile of rubble that used to be their home, and we hear the heartbreaking stories of fateful decisions made in the urgency of the moment that led to lost lives and shattered dreams.
It seems natural to mentally put ourselves in the place of those who now struggle to pick up the broken pieces of their lives and find a way—a reason—to go on. As humans, we genuinely feel for one another and wonder what we would do in the midst of such chaos. Millions of people donate to charities in a much-needed and much-appreciated way to provide some small measure of help to those with such overwhelming needs.
As time goes by, experts will carefully examine what has taken place in hopes of avoiding a repetition in the future. On the one hand, we know that important lessons can be learned; but we also know that the forces of nature—sometimes benign and sometimes violent beyond our imagination—are never going to be within our control.
In the midst of learning the important physical lessons, are there also lessons that may keep us from being swept away by the spiritual storms that sometimes crash unexpectedly through our lives?
At the end of the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “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, New International Version].
Jesus told His listeners that there was no way they could keep the spiritual storms of life from striking, but those who were willing to do more than just listen to His words—those who were willing to put His instructions into practice—would have a foundation that would enable them to survive any spiritual storm that would come their way.
Are you building your house on that foundation? The winds and rains are going to come, but God’s promise of a sure foundation for those who will serve Him can enable us to face those storms without fear.
For Life, Hope, & Truth, I’m David Johnson.