On the Rock We Stand

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Daddy, Papa, Pa, Pop, Pops… a dad by any name is still a dad! He’s part of the solid foundation of the home. We run to Dad for protection from night monsters when we’re little. We look for those hugs that show he cares about our hurts and tears. He laughs with us in the fun times, and gives advice when we struggle with problems—even when we might not be eager to listen. Each Dad brings wisdom from a unique perspective based on his own life experiences, along with a foundational wisdom from his faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. And using that wisdom, he builds his house on the solid rock.

For we all know there’s a right way—and a wrong way—to build a house. And that the greatest building constructed is only as good as its foundation.  What a structure stands upon makes all the difference in its durability. 

Take the Leaning Tower of Pisa for instance. Begun in 1173, it took over 800 years to complete! Closed in 1990 for stability issues, not until 2001was it deemed sufficiently stable for tourists to enter again, though it has retained its famous list. What its builders did not comprehend was the instability of the clay beneath their tower. As the third of eight levels was added, the tower began to shift on its soft foundation, eventually leaning about 16 feet.

On the other hand, take time to observe others among the world’s most beautiful buildings, castles and cathedrals. Erected many centuries ago, they’re a witness to the test of time. Standing straight and tall, they’ve become a lasting legacy to the wisdom of their contractors who built upon the strength and security of a solid foundation underneath.

And thinking about foundations, I’m reminded that erecting a physical structure, like a house, is much like building our character. Character encompasses our morals, integrity, and reputation. How do we react when no one is watching? We aren’t born being automatically good. We choose our behavior. We work to build a quality character or reputation one “brick” at a time with honesty, humility, kindness and love. The opposite of these characteristics destroys our reputation when we lie, mock, and behave with pride in a rude and spiteful manner. Solomon’s wisdom and discernment left us with these simple but profound words: "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6 NIV) 

My poem below came out of recognizing the wisdom needed to build solid character. Our inner foundation makes a difference as we react to life’s challenges whether it be today’s coronavirus pandemic, unemployment, or a myriad of hassles and even blessings each and every day. Confronting my own panic and anxiety when initially furloughed from my job, I began to consider these questions.  

Upon what do I/we stand? Do we sway in the breeze every time a new idea or philosophy comes along? Do we bend or break when we face life-altering difficulties, or do we change course for the better? Do we put on an act of false love? Do we blame, lash out or retaliate in anger when we don’t get our way? Do we behave as though we’re the victim when we’re actually the antagonist? Or, do we take to heart God’s wisdom and rest on His strength no matter what comes our way? If our character is built upon His firm foundation, we will not lean or collapse when the storms rise up against us for it’s the trials of life which prove the strength of our foundation.

Just as a contractor decides to build atop a solid foundation, so we must choose to first build a strong foundation for our character. And if we build well, we will stand firm on the rock which Jesus spoke about: “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 NIV) 

As the beloved hymn says, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand…” 

No matter what life sends our way, whether blessings or difficulties, may we continue to place our faith in God as we step into the unknown tomorrow.  And may the depth and strength of His timeless wisdom be the foundation upon which we stand… the Rock, our Lord.

Happy Father’s Day!

On the Rock We Stand

Linda A. Roorda

There is a rock that upholds my soul
A firm foundation upon which I stand
The strength in its base will never fail
For its source of might is our Lord above.

In wisdom’s time a house is built strong
Slowly and surely each piece put in place
That when the storms erupt in fury
Their power will prove no match for this home.

Yet nearby stands another great house
Perched upon sand with views out to sea
Admired by all for its outward beauty
Its foundation’s strength of little concern.

But came the day when stormy gales blew
As wind and waves with fierceness raged
Till morning dawned with radiance calm
And the scene portrayed a dichotomy rich.

For as the storm raged and winds blew fierce
And rain poured down in relentless waves
We then saw proof of the builder’s wisdom
For one house stood strong while the other devolved.

Such correlation cannot be missed
Within the truth that character builds
By gaining wisdom one step at a time
It’s then fierce gales our heart can withstand.

When in this life to our knees we fall
Seeking the strength of wisdom secure
No storm can arise and cause us to yield…
Our foundation holds for on the Rock we stand.

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