Do you remember the story of the Apostle Paul when he was shipwrecked on the island of Malta? The incident is recorded in Acts 27. Paul was actually shipwrecked three times in his life. He was beaten for his faith, arrested, imprisoned. He often went without food and was cold during winter days due to lack of adequate clothing — but Paul was a happy man. He always sensed God’s presence with him. He maintained peace and joy in the midst of every hardship. How could this be?
Many Christians make a grave mistake in their Christianity; the mistake is, they don’t really follow Jesus. Several weeks ago, a Christian said to me, “I don’t go to church or read the Bible very often, but I pray all the time.” A huge smile spread across her face as if praying in itself took care of everything. I felt sad inside. You see, she was building her foundation to face the storms of life on nothing more than sand.
Jesus talks about this in Matthew 7:24-27. It’s the story of one man who builds his house upon a rock. The foundation is sturdy. Then, when the storms come, his house stands strong. Another man builds his house upon sand. Then, when the storms come, his house collapses. We all face storms of life: financial concerns, family worries, health issues, career goals, the list can go on and on. In some people’s lives, when any of the above happens, they crumble. They question if God really cares, they fall into a heap of doubt and fear. You see, they built their faith upon sand.
The Apostle Paul, by contrast, built his faith upon all the teachings of Jesus. The Scripture was near and dear to his heart. He knew the holy instructions in how to live life well in the face of any difficulty. In Matthew 7:24, as a lead-in to the story of the two houses built on sand and rock, Jesus said, “Anyone who listens to my teachings and follows it is wise, like a person who builds his house upon a rock.” We must remember that we can’t follow the teachings of Jesus if we don’t know what the teachings are; hence, studying God’s Word to really know what it says. When we discover the treasures buried within the pages of Holy Scripture, we come to understand that we have at our fingertips, everything we need to get through any storm at all.