“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
My family and I have been spending a week each summer in Bethany Beach for the past three years. It’s a much needed time of connection in a beautiful place. We reserved our rental months in advance. We planned out our time here weeks in advance, asking each of our kids what they absolutely must do while we were here this year. Everything was prepared.
Then we checked the weather forecast.
There is always an element of uncertainty and risk in planning any trip dependent on experiencing the outdoors. We can even prepare by making sure we bring books, puzzles, games, and other sorts of indoor activities to pass the time and wait for skies to clear. A little rain is welcome and expected.
But as we began to pack the forecast got worse and worse. A weather pattern was setting up which would result in the possibility of a total washout for our whole week here. As things got closer and the forecast seemed more certain, we even wondered if it was worth it to come down at all. Sure enough, the drive down Saturday saw us leaving beautiful blue skies in the morning for torrential downpours and gusting winds which shook our vehicle the whole way down. We planned to attack the beach every time the rain let up for a moment this week and try our best to stay calm and happy even in the disappointment of a wet week.
Yet something else happened. Sunday morning broke cloudy but dry; by the afternoon, the clouds parted and we were looking at blue skies. Monday was beautiful, too; same for Tuesday. By Wednesday when we experienced a legitimate, full day rain event, we were ready for the time indoors anyway.
Now given my family’s background in meteorology as well as my own experience in that discipline this message isn’t license to ignore and demean the profession of weather forecasting. The conditions exist every day here by the shore in an unstable atmosphere for storms to pop up. Yet we often let the potential for storms keep us inside and behind closed doors rather than step out in faith that whatever comes will be all right.
We have made a lot of bold moves this year as a church to position ourselves for a bright, faithful future. We have organized, painted, calendared, invited, planned, deliberated… all in response to this gospel call to make disciples who will share this hope we’ve found in Jesus Christ. We are making these moves without the certainty that everything will go to plan. We don’t know the forecast. We don’t know what will resonate with people and what will fall flat. We can’t know for sure. Yet we will keep on faithfully preparing the way, remembering that what we build on a good foundation will stand the test. I am thankful for your courage in setting out on this journey together.
Keep the faith,