Last week, we were blessed to have Pastor Joe Reeser speak on the topic of dealing with pain at our online event “The Gospel in a Broken World” (Day 1: Dealing with Pain). Pastor Joe shared three ways in which God uses suffering and the process of pain in our lives, with the second point especially impressing upon my heart: God uses times of crisis to reveal where your hope rests.
The Sermon on the Mount
Matthew chapters 5-7 record one of, if not the most, important sermon ever recorded on the pages of sacred scripture: The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus shares with His followers the principles by which they ought to live by. The markers of followers of Christ, their heart posture and consequential way of living. Thus, some commentators have dubbed it the “the Kingdom Manifesto”.
A Tale of Two Builders
Where you choose to build your trust upon reveals where the basis of your hope lies. It reflects what you hold to be the means of security in your life. In times of pain you’re forced to confront the issue and ask yourself, “which foundation is my hope and my life built upon?” This is what Jesus communicated to the listeners as he brought his rousing sermon to its conclusion with a tale of two builders:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”Matthew 7:24-27
Each and everyone one of us has placed our trust somewhere. Our trust may be founded upon the Government, the economy, or maybe ourselves and our own devices. To do so is to be like the second builder who built his house upon sand. It is a waste of time, energy and resources building on such weak foundations upon which our hope is bound to give way. The present circumstances of COVID-19 and the racial injustices have exposed their frailties. Their fragility is revealed and insecurity highlighted. They are all unstable ground to base your hope upon which comes faltering when under attack.
We must be like the first builder who built his house upon a rock. A foundation which stands in strength and endures as the storms of life beat against it. To possess such fortitude, this foundation must be eternal; one which is dependable and firm. This foundation must be a safe place, providing certainty in its security through its immutability (unchanging nature). Jesus invites us to set our hope on Him as the divine and eternal Son of God, whose very words give life and stand forever amidst all danger.
For no one can lay any foundation other than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 3:11
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.Hebrews 13:8
The grass withers, the flower fades,Isaiah 40:8
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Put Your Hope in Jesus – He is a Safe Place
In moments of pain and despair, it is difficult to muster up hope and place it in Christ. Although it’s tough, we must pray. We must ask God to increase our faith. He will strengthen our hope and assurance in Him, enabling us to make Christ Himself the basis of our hope. As we do so, we may joyfully sing in agreement with the hymnist:
“On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.”Edward Mote: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less