by Brittney Chan
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
In the beginning of 2017, I found myself sitting in the back of a vehicle, traveling the winding roads of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I was there to teach a class at the annual Light of Life Youth Camp hosted by the Trawick and Sumner families. The previous two years of camp had proven to allow for incredible moves of God, that drew people closer to Him, and I was expecting nothing less for LOLYC 2017. I remember chatting away with Tabitha and Lydia as we rode through the outskirts of the city. Bro. Trawick pointed out the window to a fallen hillside and its an image that’s burned in my mind ever since. He had just shown me the remnants of a community called “Ciudad del Angel,” which was a fairly new construction project intended to provide homes for the middle class population of the city. According to one article: 180 houses sprang up, people gathered their belongings and started moving in…only to be told later that the area was “declared uninhabitable,” due to the high risk for landslides. Some families packed up and left, but some stayed to fight for their new homes - regardless of the warnings. And you know what happened? The rains came, the foundations of their homes were ruined and the houses fell.
This recently erected community was less than three years old at the time and it was already destroyed. A few days was all it took to wipe out years of labor and thousands of dollars. Imagine yourself as one of the new tenants told to evacuate and that only part of the money you’d invested would be returned. Or what if you were one that chose to stay, only to wake up to that nightmare later on?! All the building efforts…the money…everything spent on those homes no longer mattered. The verdict was final when the area was labeled “uninhabitable.” And it was all because the foundation couldn’t stand against the elements. The sight was so saddening and my heart reached out to all those people I didn’t even know. I couldn’t fathom the loss, frustration and confusion they must have felt. Surely, it was a mix of emotions as they tried to salvage the scraps of the hope of starting a new life in a new home. I’m sure they felt betrayed at some point as they pondered the architect’s plans. Why didn’t the builders check out the foundations? Why would they choose that hillside if they knew it wouldn’t stand? Securing a stable foundation should have been one of the first things they did, right? Some of those same questions tend to run through my mind when I see loved ones fall away as their spiritual foundations are shaken. In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed more than I’d like to count backslide and recant on the things they once declared as the truths of the Gospel and the ways of Holiness living. And this generally happened after they were introduced to oppositions that challenged their satisfaction in Christ. Please don’t think I’m writing to you as someone who has never experienced hardship or temptation. I fear being perceived as unlearned or naive and I assure you that isn’t the case. Life is complex and uncertain. Everyone has to make decisions based on what they think is right for them, but how do we determine what’s right? Friend, I urge you to take a moment to make sure that your life is still founded on Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Paul wrote of his own determination to do just that in his first letter to the church at Corinth. The apostle was far from ignorant or “out of touch” with what it felt like to be tempted by the adversary of his soul. Yet, he still chose to be tethered to the Rock of his salvation. Backsliding begins when our communication with God ceases.
I find it hard to have a life-altering, much less meaningful, relationship with someone that I never talk to. That’s why prayer, coupled with fasting and Bible reading, is preached so often from the pulpit.
Our Father desires to have a deep and intimate relationship with each one of us. Drawing nearer to Him will yield changes in who we are individually and His plan is that we become more like Him in every part of life. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how anything that challenges your love for Holiness can be considered a direct opposition of His will for you. It’s not enough to hope that you can slide into Heaven clutching the hem of your pastor’s, parents’ or partner’s relationship with God. The risk is too great in resting easy on the ties you had to Him as a child. God wants you today, and every day afterwards, so that His Spirit can live through you and change the world. If you fail to be founded in Him, it’s like being a vessel “declared uninhabitable,” which cannot stand the storms of life. Jesus warns us that “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) A few verses later, He gives the well known analogy of the wise man who built his house on a rock and the foolish one who built upon the sands. Throughout the Scriptures, writers - like King David, Apostle Paul and Peter - all declared Him to be the Rock; therefore we can rest assured that building a life on Christ is the will of our Father!
I come before you today on behalf of every reader who may be insecure in their relationship with You. I pray that Your unfailing Love would light up the darkest corners of their mind and let them know that they have a place here, in Your family. Give strength to the weary souls that are tempted to quit. Make us satisfied in being called a child of God and determined to tell of Your Grace every day. In Jesus’ name,