The Oasis - May 22, 2019
Author: Rev. Dan Hollis
May 22, 2019
Once upon a time, there was a pig. This pig built a house for herself out of wood: logs, fenceposts, whatever she could find. The finished product didn’t look half-bad; it certainly wasn’t no straw house, no sir.
Across town was a second pig, and this pig had some serious money. They built a beautiful home for themself: vinyl siding, sheetrock, fiberglass, the best polymers and synthetic materials money could buy.
Well, as poor luck would have it, a few months later an untimely hurricane completely blew away the wooden house, and flooded the second pig’s house and destroyed all their possessions.
But there just so happened to be a third pig architect in this town. She had built a house as well, but it didn’t exactly have the quaint cobbled-together cabin feel of the first house, and it certainly wasn’t the product of worldly riches. No, this house was simple—some would even say primitive—built out of stone. Simple stone walls built on a strong stone foundation. Yet when the hurricane came and destroyed the other two pigs’ houses, the house built on the stone foundation endured, despite the chaos whipping around it. As Jesus puts it in His own version of this story in Matthew 7:
“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.”
Psalm 62, also, is all about foundations. It tells us to build our lives on a solid foundation. It tells us we can live our lives with possessions and people and book clubs and PTAs and singles nights at the local karaoke bar, but despite all those things in your house, “though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.”
Recession, layoffs, stock market drops… the bottom can fall out and you’re not standing on anything but quicksand.
Marriages end, family members die, friends drift apart, food goes rotten, water gets polluted… even the Earth, the foundation we all quite literally stand on is buckling under our weight. Climate change, ozone holes, melting ice and raising sea level, the air we breathe filled with chemicals, the list goes on… and in 5 billion years even the sun in the sky will fail us. Nothing in this world is completely reliable, and if it’s all you’ve put your stock in, when it’s gone, the three little pigs tell us that there ain’t much for you once your house falls down.
And what does the Psalm tell us we canput our trust in?
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from God. Truly God is my rock and my salvation; God is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”
I’ve been there, I think we all have, when the walls start crumbling and we’re running out of things to call on. I don’t know what God has done for you in your lives… if you believe God has stepped in to lend a helping hand, or if you can just feel God’s hand on your shoulder in times of crisis, or if you don’t feel anything at all—it seems God is either deaf to your pain, or simply isn’t there. But Psalm 62 tells us we don’t have to live in hopelessness, and when tragedy strikes—the big ones and the little ones—we don’t have to despair.
Think about it, the biggest force in and beyond the universe actually yearns for you, individually, and wants nothing more than for you, me, all of us to lean on it.
If we can take that leap to say, ‘God holds up the universe, and I want God to hold me up too,’ then no tragedy can ever fully bring us to our knees. When everything goes wrong in my life and I’m scared about the future and angered by the past, and I have nothing left but to wallow in the hopelessness and despair, I take the time to remember that greatest Being there is cares about me individually, and I lean on that.
Heck, I grab onto that like a life raft.
Song I’m listening to these days: “The Rubberband Man,” by The Spinners.