This house has been called The Last House Standing. In 2008, Hurricane Ike barreled down on Galveston, Texas with a storm surge of 16 feet and waves reaching even higher. It leveled every single house, church and business across the small town of Gilchrist on the Bolivar peninsula.
Reporters scrambled to find the owners of this tall yellow house. Everyone wanted to know two things: How had their house been built and who had designed it?
Turns out, the owners had been through a hurricane before. So when they were ready to build again, they hired engineers to design a house that would withstand a hurricane and then to oversee all of the contractor’s work.
The real strength of this house is below grade. The yellow house sits on reinforced concrete pilings anchored and bolted down to stabilizing pilings. The pilings run deep but also tall, allowing the yellow house to sit at a much higher elevation than surrounding houses.
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The house didn’t come through unscathed. Hurricane Ike carried a slow but powerful ocean surge and some of the interior appliances, carpeting and furnishings were ruined. But while every other building collapsed like matchsticks, the yellow house stood secure.
The Storms in our Life
Jesus told the story of two houses – one built on sand and the other on rock.
“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]
Two people: both of them heard the same words of Jesus but only one put them into practice.
Jesus wasn’t talking about getting our house in order financially, though that’s important.
Jesus wasn’t talking about getting our house in order aesthetically, though there’s a place for that.
Jesus was talking about getting our house in order spiritually.
What is our anchor? Life can dish out some storms. When the wind howls and the rising water threatens, it’s not the carpet or the paint color or the bathroom tile that saves the house. It’s what is unseen. The deep anchoring in Christ alone saves us.
Today is an opportunity. I can add some tile and touch up the paint of my little house or I can secure my foundation. Every day I get to dig down deep into the Word and walk the path that God has for me or I can make my own way.
Maybe you’re in an unexpected, really hard storm right now and you’re saying “I know I’m anchored in Christ but boy is the wind whipping hard against me right now.” Take a long look at the yellow house. That is you. There may be scars from the storm and some needed mending, but the anchor is sure. There is stability in the Unseen that can never be seen above grade.
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