One of my favorite songs as a child was:
“The foolish man built his house upon the sand… (Repeat 2 times)
And, the rains came streaming down.
The rains came down and the floods came up… (Repeat 2 times)
And, the foolish man’s house went splat.”
There are two more verses. The “wise man built his house upon a rock…and the wise man’s house stood firm.” The lesson at the end, “build you house on the Lord Jesus Christ and your house will always stand firm”.
Let’s think about a water bottle. If you take an unopened, plastic, bottle of water out of your fridge, it’s somewhat difficult to squeeze. It’s full of water and is air tight because it is sealed. However, because there is room for air at the top, you have a little bit of room to apply pressure right now. What happens when you drink the water? The bottle is full of fragile air. Without the water there for protection, the bottle can now be crushed with considerable ease. The bottle will buckle in your hand because it cannot handle the pressure being dealt against it.
We are all pressured daily. We are pressured at work by coworkers to do more; we are pressured at home by our family to work less; we are pressured by our peers (even as adults) to do things we don’t want to; we are pressured at church by our congregation to be better Christians. It never stops. It seems like no matter what we do, we aren’t pleasing someone. “Well, if I work late I can finish that project, but I won’t be home for dinner. If I leave early on Wed, I can help with G.A.s at church, but my coworkers will be annoyed to have to do my tasks. I really don’t want to go to the game this weekend, but my friends are all going.” It goes on and on. I can promise you, that no matter which decision you make, someone will feel put out. Someone’s feelings are always going to be hurt. And, even if you do make the decision to please person A today, they will be upset tomorrow when you agree to do something for person B. It’s a harsh cycle that we all become a victim to. It is so hard not to crush under the pressure.
I used to feel like the fragile, plastic, empty bottle. I would crush under pressure with the slightest squeeze. It didn’t take much from anyone for me to buckle. I didn’t know how to stand steady. I finally learned to block it. I had to fill-up my fragile, empty space with God. It’s easier to stand my ground under the pressure when I am standing with God.
Let’s go back to the bottle. What happens when you freeze the unopened, sealed bottle of water? When you try to squeeze it now, it is like a rock. The sealed bottle on its own is steady and difficult to squeeze, but the frozen bottle is firm. An adult without God or Jesus in their heart and soul is like the fragile, empty bottle. There is no one there to support him/her from the unrelenting pressure. It will buckle effortlessly. They will buckle effortlessly. An adult Christian learning to live his/her life to please Him is more like the unopened, sealed water bottle. It’s much more difficult, but can still feel the pressure when enough is applied. The bottle will eventually start to lose its shape when you squeeze hard enough. The adult Christian who is alreadyliving every day for Him is like the frozen water bottle. He/she cannot be broken with just a little human effort. It is very difficult to achieve the task of crushing the frozen bottle because it is so firm. It is firm as a rock. It’s extremely difficult to get the Christian to buckle under pressure because God is standing for them. It’s like the song lyrics “so, build your house on the Lord, Jesus Christ and your house will always stand firm.”
Here’s the best part about the crushed water bottle though…you can blow air into it and it once again finds its shape! It may have lost itself under the pressure, but with just a little air it becomes whole, again. We may buckle under pressure, but when we turn to God he heals us. He breathes the air of life into us. The overwhelming weight of pressure may literally feel like it is crushing down on us; that we are losing our shape just like the empty water bottle does. But, when we turn to God for strength, He will freely give it! He will fill us all with the strength weneed to stand firm like the frozen water bottle…to stand firm like a rock.