How to Weather the Storms of Life l Luke 6:37-49 l Chapel Hill Church Gig Harbor
Two years ago, we decided to install a 6-foot vinyl fence in our backyard. As I tend to be overconfident, and stingy, I thought I’d do the work myself. As the time approached, I realized I really needed some help, but thankfully a friend of mine who was a general contractor agreed to give me a couple of days of his time. We marked it out on the Thursday evening and early Friday morning I gathered a group of guys to begin digging the 20 holes we needed for the fence posts. Each hold needed to be two feet deep, but we had several post hole diggers, and a lot of muscle so I thought we’d have the holes dug in a few hours. I was wrong.
The first 8 inches was easy. Then we hit hardpan. Absolutely rock solid. You’d throw the post hole digger in and, “duhnk!” We weren’t going anywhere. So, we gave in and rented an auger. (We pronounce it as “aw-guh” in the UK, as I discovered when people kept looking at me blankly when I would say the word). This thing was seriously heavy duty. It got towed on the back of a truck. And we thought we would be cooking with gas now. But, as you can see even this big heavy-duty auger couldn’t make it more than a couple of inches without getting stuck. This was going to be some seriously hard going. And then, to make matters worse, the bolt connecting the auger screw to the main assembly sheared in half. Things were starting to look nearly impossible.
At this point someone suggested, half-jokingly, that instead of digging 24-inch holes, we dig 8-inch holes, cut the bottom 16 inches off the fence posts, and install the fence on top of the hard pan. Now, this was very tempting, I have to say. We could have had the holes dug by lunchtime, probably with only one person working, and maybe even the fence installed by dinner. But here’s the problem: our PNW windstorms. Our 6-foot fence would never have stood a chance in the midst of a storm. So, we labored on, eventually settling on a technique of digging two inches with the auger, and then removing all the rock with a post hole digger, and then taking out another two inches at a time. All in all, it took two full days of work to dig 20 holes—about 45 minutes per hole! And now we have a wonderful fenced back yard!
But imagine for a second that this fence represents your life. And just like for my fence, in our lives we will all face storms. As Nicky Gumbel writes, “They will come in many forms: misunderstandings, disappointments, unfulfilled longings, doubts, trials, temptations, setbacks and satanic attacks. Success, too, can be a test. There is also pressure, suffering, sickness, bereavement, sorrow, trauma, tragedy, persecution and failure.” How will your life stand up to these storms? Is your foundation dug deep like my fence? Or did you cut corners and build your life on the hardpan? Today, I hope you will discover what it looks like to build your life in such a way that you can weather the storms of life.
My name is Ellis, and I’m one of the pastors here. Welcome to Chapel Hill. I’m glad you’re with us, whether you are in person or online. We’re continuing in our series through Luke’s gospel, one of the four biographical accounts in the New Testament about Jesus’ life. And this week we conclude what is known as the Sermon on the Plain. You can grab your Bible and turn to Luke 6. This is Luke’s account of some of Jesus’ most important teaching. And it concludes with Jesus’ answer to the question: how can I weather the storms of life? How can I build my life in such a way that I can withstand the trials that will come? Here is what Jesus says in Luke 6:46-49:
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46–49
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.