Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. Matthew 7:24-25
I heard this parable for years without noticing one of the finer but important points: Building a house on rock does not keep storms from happening. It keeps them from destroying you.
This has to be one of the hardest lessons for humanity to accept. The entire book of Job was written to show God’s people that tragedies are not always a direct consequence of sin or mistakes. Yet in Jesus’s time, people still asked questions like, “Whose sin caused this man’s blindness?” And I still hear questions like this in modern times from people like … myself.
I was a bit naive before I married my husband. I heard things about how living together before marriage increased the risk of divorce and how couples who practice natural family planning have a 2% divorce rate. So I thought, because I had made the right choices in those matters, my marriage was going to be some sort of storm-free zone that maybe had occasional drizzle. I thought surely God was going to make my marriage easy because I followed his laws so well.
Soon after my wedding I discovered my house was in the storm path of the family disease of alcoholism. At times, when I was in the midst of the emotional tempests that come along with living with alcoholism, I would look at seemingly happy friends who had lived together before marriage, and think, “If I had lived with him before we were married I wouldn’t be in this situation. What good did it do me? I waited until marriage and got blindsided by behaviors I didn’t know he did until I lived with him.”
These storms, though, didn’t destroy me. In fact, the lessons I have learned from my situation have made me a stronger, better person. I might never have learned how to be assertive without being aggressive if I had not sought emotional and spiritual help to withstand my storms. I might never have learned the art of responding instead of reacting. I might never have learned the joy and freedom that true forgiveness brings to the one who gives it.
Sure, I still live in storm territory, and even now, some of the storms shake me. But I have a life built on the Rock of Ages. No matter what happens, my soul will never be devastated.
Copyright 2018 Monica Portogallo