Our hope, when we truly make that decision to follow Jesus, rests solely on the simple truth that Jesus has already conquered the world and will continue to do so, for you, if you ask Him.
I feel compelled to share my recent musings around one of the parables that Jesus told which can be found at the end of Matthew chapter 7. I have shared these thoughts already with a number of children, young people and families on various occasions over the last couple of weeks.
The decision to give your life to Jesus and become a Christian is one that can often be sugar-coated and presented as one that will save you from all of life’s problems, ensuring that you never have any worries ever again. This can often have an adverse effect on those people who are ‘searching’ or know people who are Christians when they see their Christian friends still experiencing hard times and having to go through tough situations which are similar to those which they are experiencing.
It also impacts on the lives of those who have made the decision to follow Christ, perhaps under false pretences. When the Gospel is presented to us as one which brings freedom from pain and hardships, as soon as someone who has become a Christian on this basis comes up against any of life’s big problems, they often use it as an excuse to walk away, failing to see the need to follow Jesus when they’re still going to experience the same rubbish as everyone else!
What Jesus teaches us through the parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders is that no matter what you build your foundations on, you are still going to experience the storm. When we look at this parable and when we teach it to others, we often share the message that it is the wisest decision to build our house on rock as opposed to sand; the rock of course being Jesus, but we stop short of talking about the actual storm itself and what this means in relation to our lives.
When we sing with our children, ‘the rain came down and the floods came up’, what does that actually mean to them?
The storm is of course, an analogy used by Jesus to talk about life. The storms being the hard times and the rubbish which is often thrown in our direction from going through life on this earth. We’re talking about heartbreak, poverty, redundancy, illness, loss, amongst many other things. Just because we make the wise decision to build our lives on Jesus, it does not mean that we will be saved from going through the storms of life – Jesus never promised that and neither should we.
What our decision to follow Jesus does mean however, is that when we experience storms in our lives, we have someone that we can turn to who is above it all. We have someone we can turn to who will love us through whatever it is that we are struggling with. We have someone we can turn to who can bring us a peace and a comfort that no-one else can bring and we have someone who can empower us with the strength to overcome ANYTHING. That is what a ‘rock’ is. A rock stands firm, unshaken and unmoved by whatever is thrown at it, in the same way that, if we allow Him, Jesus stands firm, unshaken and unmovable as the foundations of our lives – ready to withstand whatever this world sends in our direction.
In this world, we will have troubles, that is a given. Our hope, when we truly make that decision to follow Jesus, rests solely on the simple truth that Jesus has already conquered the world and will continue to do so, for you, if you ask Him. The love of Jesus is stronger than any pain.