Blessed Rain, Sure Foundations…
I have so much enjoyed the rain and the wind of the last few weeks, the rain more than the wind, nevertheless, I am grateful for the Lord’s blessings. Just these last couple of days, seeing the windows of heaven opening up and pouring out blessings upon our drought weary valley, has lifted my spirits and filled my heart with hope of a promising year. It is easy to enjoy these blessings of the Lord from the comfort and safety of my roof covered home that is set upon a sure foundation, far from overflowing creeks and rivers. The rains do come, and the winds blow fiercely. Thanks to the inspired wisdom of those who built this house, set on a sure foundation, and out of the course of natural waterways, my family and I may enjoy its warm security.
I recall a day when a not so wise teenage me decided to go backpacking on a 1981 winter day in the rain. Those were the days of super powered indestructible energy, guided more by will than by wit. My friend Tim and I set out on that cloudy day to backpack overnight behind my country home in Tivy Valley, on the northern face of Rattlesnake Mountain. It was raining when we put our backpacks on and started the hike, and continued off and on throughout the afternoon and evening. We brought proper gear and a good tent, so we thought we had things covered pretty well.
That night, wearing our ponchos, we ate steaks and beans cooked over our hot fire, enjoying our conquest of the elements. We did not think about the fact that we had placed our tent, which was resistant to the falling rain, but not flood, on the edge of a normally dry gully.
After going into the tent for the night and getting into our sleeping bags, the rain increased, and the gully filled with water. While we were not swept away, a good portion of our small tent did take in water and eventually Tim and I were both soaked and cold.
Before dawn, I arose, relit the campfire, and sat and pondered on these lessons with the rising sun. By the time we ate breakfast, the rain was gone, and we enjoyed a pleasant hike under blue skies toward home.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provides guidelines, commandments, to be followed in order to be sheltered from the storms of life. He shares a cautionary tale of the importance of building our lives and testimonies on solid foundations. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).
As the Lord taught, God “maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). This concept is so well explained in the “Come Follow Me” February 20-26 lesson, “Living the gospel doesn’t remove adversity from our lives. Both houses in the Savior’s parable experienced the same storm. But one of the houses was able to withstand it.”
Living the Savior’s standards and teachings creates a solid foundation upon which to build our lives. As we build our symbolic “house upon a rock,” we are blessed to endure the winds and the rains that will beat upon us. No flood of evil can overcome the child of God who lives by and follows the Lord’s commands.
With all the preparedness, and ill-preparedness, of our 1981 hike, recorded in my journal of those days is that we began our hike in prayer, and offered prayer again before the return journey. We knew to whom we should turn for blessed safety, and to God we relied. Otherwise, as we read in Helaman 4:13, we would have been “left in [our] own strength; therefore [we would] not prosper, but [be] afflicted and smitten.” Without the Lord watching over us that night, we may have been swept away with our tent to suffer life altering consequences.
When we put the Lord and living His word, His law, His atonement, first in our lives, they become that mighty change in our lives, that agent for good, that helps us to know Him and truly follow. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33). This is where we find life’s true answers and rewards, seeking first the Lord.
May we understand how the application of the Lord’s words and teachings make them a true catalyst for power and change in our lives. With gratitude I can say that much more rain is yet to fall, and we, as well as this thirsty land, will benefit in ways untold from openings in the windows of heaven. Nevertheless, the rain will come with winds, and with it floods. In the coming storms there will be great trial, as well as blessings. With our preparedness, our wisdom to follow Christ, the storms of life will not overtake the children of God, the children of His promise. When the tempest has passed, our foundations sure, we will together enjoy that pleasant journey, under God’s blue skies, to our heavenly home. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.