My grandparents, who own a cattle farm, have lived in a double wide trailer for as long as I can remember. Why? As the name would suggest, a mobile home is … well, mobile. Portability is appealing to a farmer like my grandfather, who can easily relocate his home to another part of the property if the creek rises or if he needs to expand the pasture. More importantly, trailers are significantly less expensive than a stationary house. That means my grandparents are able to finance their monthly excursions to Florida to play golf instead of making hefty mortgage payments. Ease and cost are definitely the motivating factors in their decision to live in a mobile home.
Manufactured homes may be low-cost and convenient, but it’s common knowledge that they aren’t the safest place to hang out during a hurricane or tornado. The materials and structure of a trailer cannot always withstand strong winds; a residence literally may be blown apart or destroyed by flying debris. Additionally, there is a chance that a mobile home could slide off its foundation if it hasn’t been properly tied down.
Jesus warned His followers about the dangers of mobile home living in hurricane season. He compared a man who hears His words but fails to act on them to “a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation, and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed” (Luke 6:49, NASB). If we want to be unshakable, obedience to the Word of God is the only way to dig deep and lay a foundation that can withstand obstacles and hardships.
Inclement conditions are an inevitable part of life. Sometimes it seems the walls cave in, and I ask God, “Why is this happening to me?” But the apostle Peter warned us not to be surprised when we face difficulty as though it was some freakish occurrence (1 Peter 4:12). Instead, we should rejoice in times of testing, trust God and keep doing the right thing. It’s easy to be obedient when things are turning out the way we want or expect and the skies are clear. But will we obey God when flood waters are seeping through our front door? Consider the following scenarios:
- An economic recession slashes your 401(k). Will you cling to your cash or continue to tithe while money is tight?
- You and your spouse have been fighting and arguing a lot lately. Will you engage in “innocent” flirtations with a stranger?
- A coworker made you look foolish in front of the boss. Will you forgive him or try to show him up at the next department meeting?
Many of us want to build our life solidly on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His Word, but we sometimes fall short of true obedience because it is inconvenient and costs us something—like our pride or reputation.
Hurricanes and tornadoes in life, appearing in the form of difficult situations, are actually gifts from God because we often lack the ability to discern the condition of our own souls without them. It’s normal to go through life with the attitude that “maybe I’m not perfect, but I’m definitely better than Jim or Jane over there. I think I’m a pretty good person.” If you want to know what’s really in your heart, consider the times you’ve felt the squeeze of stress and tough circumstances. Mounting pressures and heavy expectations will press down on us until all the junk inside starts to leak out—angry words, negative attitudes, fear, anxiety. Then we start to realize that we haven’t been obedient in some areas.
I hate those gross moments of realization that I’m not as wonderful and godly as I once imagined. However, hurricanes blow through life so that I’ll recognize my need for Christ and examine my spiritual house to see if it is built on a good foundation or merely shifting sand.
The next time I find myself in the midst of one of life’s storms, hopefully I won’t be surprised that strong winds and rain are slapping me in the face. Instead, I’ll follow the rest of the apostle Peter’s advice and commit myself to the faithful Creator and continue to do good (1 Peter 4:19, NIV). Then maybe I will welcome hurricane season instead of running from it.