It’s easy to do good things in fair weather.
Look at these two men in the parable of the house on the rock.
Notice: they both built houses!
Up until the storm, both these men appeared to be living good lives.
They built good things, they did good work, their outward actions seemed to be the same.
But there was something very different about their two lives…
Everyone then who hears 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 beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!Matthew 7:24-27
Though the lives of these men seemed basically the same in fair weather, their hearts – their foundation – was revealed when the storm hit.
The Storm Reveals the Fruits
The storms of life: this pandemic; a difficult loss of a family member, friend, or job; a sickness or particular cross – those storms show the fruits of a person’s life.
How many times are we shocked – SHOCKED! – when a “good Catholic” goes off the rails.
A person may seem to have built a good life, be living the faith, all is well – and then BAM suddenly a “faithful” spouse leaves their family, a “gentle” person exposes their hidden rage, a “sound” person embraces radical or wayward views.
It leaves us wondering – what happened?
Their fruits in these trying times reveal their shaky foundation.
There’s a disconnect somewhere between hearing the Gospel and living it out.
And then, other times, we see a person endure a completely devastating event: the loss of a child or a spouse; a reversal in financial or economic status; a terminal diagnosis…
And in those storms of life, when we expect everything to fall apart, when we ourselves would have crumbled, that person only gets stronger.
They amaze us with their faith, their strength, their enduring peace.
These fruits are the result of their nearness to Christ, their firm foundation in him.
They not only have heard the Gospel, but lived it.
Hearts are revealed – not in the calm, but in the storm.
How to Build a Firm Foundation in Christ
It’s in the calm and easy times of life that our foundation is built, and in the storms that it is tested.
If you’re in an easy time, then work on strengthening that foundation.
Dig deeper into your faith and your relationship with Christ. Make sure that all you is rooted in him, and done for his glory.
- Develop a strong prayer life.
- Frequent the Sacraments.
- Search out a spiritual director.
- Take up spiritual reading.
- Make time for reflection and meditation.
Build that firm foundation that you will need when the storms of life hit.
Be like the wise man who develops a close friendship with Jesus, and comes to know and love him dearly, to do everything for him.
Don’t be like the foolish man who did good deeds with a shallow foundation, for shallow purposes.
And then when you find yourself in time of trial, cling to your foundation in Christ.
When everything is falling apart, only he can hold you together.
Stay firm in him.
What to do When the Storm Tears You Down
Maybe you find yourself in a time of trial and you realize your foundation isn’t as firm as you thought it was.
I’ve been there.
I’ve felt like everything was crashing down in my life, and my peace was shaken. I struggled greatly.
Sometimes, when our foundation was shaky, we have to allow everything to be torn down so that we can rebuild, this time with a firmer foundation.
Do not be afraid.
Allow your idols and your worldly attachments to be torn from your life in order to make more room for Christ.
When everything settles and the dust clears, begin to rebuild that foundation.
Reignite that spark of love for Christ, the Sacraments, and his Holy Church.
That’s where I find myself right now. I’m in the wake of a few difficult years – a time of trial.
I’m rebuilding my life on Christ.
I know there will be more trials in the future, and this time I am determined to have a firm foundation to cling to when those trials hit.
I’m working on my prayer life, on entering into my vocation, and on putting Christ first in all things.
I pray that God will give me the grace to rebuild my life on him, more firmly than ever, and that he will uphold me through future storms.
If you find yourself in a similar position, know that you’re not alone.
It’s okay if you have to rebuild.
This time, make sure to build on the rock.
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