FROM THE GROUND UP

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“And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” -Matthew 7:25 (NKJV)

Imagine visiting New York City for the very first time. The look of amazement, and, even fright, plastered on your face as you look at the towering skyscrapers above is pretty common. There’s just something about seeing the massive man-made creations that puts a sense of awe in us, thinking “Isn’t it crazy we have the technology to build impossible looking things.” 

Those skyscrapers are impressive, that’s a given, but there are things we can’t see under the surface that keep these towers from falling flat. 

Before a building can reach great heights, it must be solidified into its foundation with steel rods. There will be layers of reinforced steel and tons of concrete poured into a stable area of ground, and this will basically become the skeleton of a skyscraper: part buried in the ground, part reaching up to the clouds. However, without the weight and sturdiness of the concrete/steel maze in the ground, skyscrapers would simply be a fantasy of ours. Nonexistent. 

The facts and science don’t lie. A skyscraper must be built on a solid foundation or it will fall. 

The purpose of a building’s foundation is to help it withstand the effects of violent winds and severe weather, and to keep the building secure in its place. If a builder was to start putting up the framework of a house without laying a concrete slab underneath it first, it would almost certainly fall to pieces again when the slightest hint of a storm came. You just can’t do it.

Likewise, our lives can be similar to the process of building a skyscraper. Without laying the right foundation under our life, we can easily crumble under the emotional, mental, and spiritual storms around us. 

Think of our reputation, successes, habits, social life, possessions, etc. as the height of the skyscraper. What we can see. They honestly look beautiful; sleek, glassy, shiny, a work of architectural genius. However, if we try to build only the visible parts of our life, with nothing underneath it, the visible will become worth nothing in a matter of time. It would make no sense to consciously say “I base my entire life off of what people on Instagram say about me”, or “My streaks on Snapchat determine how close I am to my friends”, but that’s often what we’re really thinking at our core, and it shows in our actions. These material, surface-level parts of life constantly shift and change with the times, leaving a shaky representation of who we really are floating around on the internet. Consequently, when trends and challenges and aesthetics fade out of the spotlight, there’s no common factor there. No consistency, no stability, no substance. 

To build our life out of the pretty things -stained glass windows with the infamous “like” symbol emblazoned on them, wood framework painted with every vague approval or compliment you’ve ever received- is a complete waste of time if you neglect to place the foundations first. 

Our foundation must be something that is constant in life, unlike all the trends and ideas of the world we live in, and one thing that has never changed and never will is the word of God. Truth lies in that little black book sitting on your side table. Instead of shelving it, we should open the Bible up and read it, for in it are wisdom, guidance, and security. It’s our instruction manual for life, basically, and how can we expect to build any big project without some solid steps? But one more thing you can always count on is our direct telephone line to Jesus: prayer. No matter what it feels like while praying, you can be sure Jesus is hearing you. Prayer will sustain you through all of life. If we take the time to build up our relationship with Him first, we can trust that the small things in life will get taken care of after. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” -Matthew 6:33 NKJV

That being said, foundations are NOT pretty. They have no exterior benefits; no one will walk by and compliment you on your foundation. When people see a house, they ignore the concrete underneath it, if they can see it at all. And it’s true, when people walk by you, they won’t see all the verses you’ve memorized hanging over your head. They won’t hear an echo of your prayers ringing every time you show up. They won’t see the place where your soul is anchored inside. But while everything we see around us becomes worthless, fades, breaks…. our hope found in Jesus will remain unshakable.

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…” -Hebrews 6:19 NKJV 

“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.” -Psalm 62:5-6 NKJV 

That verse from Psalm 62 above is thought to have been written during David’s persecution by his own son, Absalom. Absalom tricked David into letting him go to Hebron in Israel, then he proclaimed himself king over the city, and then aimed to gain all of Israel as his domain- oh, and all this while David was still technically king. And believe it or not, even though Absalom was in the wrong, people supported him. If there was any time in his life that David was learning that he couldn’t rely on the outside to support him, it would’ve been then. His position as king was not effective anymore. His popularity was fading. He was not in his prime as he once was. His appearance was no longer attractive compared to his son. So how did David respond to this sudden shake-up in his world? 

He commanded his soul to silently wait on God, and no one else, and to know that God is his only rock. 

David would not be moved. He refused to be shaken by the outside world and where he stood in popularity with the people. All of David’s accomplishments couldn’t have kept him stable, and neither could relying on his personality, but in the end, David saw how relying on God kept him strong while waiting for all to be restored. 

Now we may not be in the exact situation as David, but we will undoubtedly experience storms in life that will shake us somehow. The skyscraper of who we are will experience a whirling rain when changing circumstances throw a curveball at us. But what matters is what is underneath the structure of your life. The winds and rain beat against the house, but it did not fall, “for it was founded on the rock.” 

Look inside yourself right now. Really. Stop what you’re doing and think for a second. Do you tend to check your phone every 3 minutes to see if that selfie on instagram got any new comments or likes? Do you keep an accurate count of your followers on social media at all times? Do you find yourself trying to one up everyone by mentioning the recognition you’ve received, or buying only name brand clothing to keep up appearances? Is that what your life is standing on? If so, I encourage you to right now pick up your Bible, rethink what is constant in your life, begin to value God’s opinion and direction more than the voices around you, and set a foundation underneath your soul. 

“The building is only as tall as the foundation is strong enough to build on.” -unknown

“For who is God save the LORD? Or who is a rock save our God?” -Psalm 18:31 KJV

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    Linda Betterton

    Very well written!

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