Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken. I will test you with the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness. Since your refuge is made of lies, a hailstorm will knock it down. Since it is made of deception, a flood will sweep it away. [Isaiah 28:16-17 (NLT)]
For the last two months, I’ve watched a heap of lumber at a nearby intersection transform into an enormous three-story “retirement resort.” Made entirely of wood, I can’t help but think about the Big Bad Wolf. You remember him—the fellow who huffed and puffed and blew down the Three Little Pigs’ homes until he got to the one made of bricks.
Here in southwest Florida, there are no wolves at our doors but we do get our fair share of huffing and puffing from tropical storms and hurricanes. Just because it’s been ten years since Wilma hit here doesn’t mean we’re not going to encounter another hurricane. In fact, some weathermen say we’re three years overdue for one. While nothing is actually hurricane proof, things can be pretty darn hurricane resistant. With proper design and construction, damage from storms can be greatly reduced. Our home, for example, is made of poured concrete and has hurricane straps anchoring its roof to the building.
Hurricanes aren’t the only threat to homes here. There’s a high risk of termite infestation and that building looks like a huge buffet for those hungry pests. Wood rot and mold in our hot and humid climate also jeopardize wood structures, not to mention the danger of fire. I’m sure the resort’s landscaping will be attractive, the interior design lovely, and stucco will be applied to the exterior. Nevertheless, while it may look well-built and beautiful on the surface, it will still be nothing more than an attractive pile of sticks. It might be able to withstand a tropical storm, like Fay with her 55 mph winds, but I doubt there will be much left if a relative of Wilma’s with her 125 mph winds returns (or if a family of termites take up residence).
What a building looks like on the surface is nowhere near are important as what it’s made of and who constructed it. That goes for people, as well; we need a solid base made by a good builder. Sooner or later one of life’s storms will come along to shake our lives. Without a firm foundation in God, without a life built on His word, without Jesus as our cornerstone, we’re not going to be able to stand strong against the tempests of life. We might make it through one of life’s cloudbursts like unemployment, but add debt, disease, or a death and you have the makings of a hurricane. Just as mold and termites threaten a poorly built home, infidelity, addiction or depression can gradually destroy a family. A life that isn’t built by God is vulnerable to attack on all sides. We’re not hurricane-proof—believer and non-believer alike will encounter major storms—but they don’t have to blow our lives apart. If God has been the architect and builder of our lives, we have nothing to fear. With Jesus as our cornerstone, we’ll be hurricane resistant and still be standing when the tempest has passed.
Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. [Psalm 127:1a (NLT)]
Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. [Ephesians 2:23 (NLT)]