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Ask yourself, is my home strong enough to weather the storms?

Friday October 25, 2019 Written by Published in Church Talk
A family’s shed build above the beach at Rutaki was swept away by a rogue wave in August. 19081675 A family’s shed build above the beach at Rutaki was swept away by a rogue wave in August. 19081675

The parable of the man who build his house upon the sand is particularly pertinent to Cook Islands as hurricane season nears, writes John Mateara, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  “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

The word “rock” is compared with the idea of strength. Rocks were used to build walls, fortresses, and towers during Bible times as a protection against potential threat or war from the enemy.

In scripture, the word “rock” was also referenced to God as our source of strength in times of distress and danger.

“Rock” also typifies something about the nature of God. His love for us all is solid as a rock, regardless of our human frailties and weakness. He is unchangeable in nature — absolute and binding to His word and promises.

As we all know, hurricane season is fast approaching, in fact it officially begins for us on November 1st. None of us needs reminding that hurricanes are one of nature’s most destructive and deadly forces.

Some of these storms have the ability to level and destroy entire villages and islands, leaving only a wide path of devastation in their wake.

We here in the Cook Islands are particularly vulnerable.

In the not so distant past, we had little or no warning when hurricanes or other violent storms threatened on the horizon.

But fortunately, over the years, technology has advanced and now computer systems and radars help us forecast and track all types of severe weather.

When an approaching storm intensifies and gains strength, we tend to ask ourselves, is my home strong enough to weather the storm? Am I prepared for what is to come? With the time I have left before the storm hits, what can I do to increase my chances of survival?

In the parable of the wise and the foolish man Jesus was expressing metaphorically the calamities and afflictions that happen to us; such as false accusations, deceit, bereavement and death, loss of friends, conflict from strangers, illness and all the ills in our life that anyone could imagine.

The scriptures continue, “But to none of these,” says He, “does such a soul give way” and that is because he or she has built their foundations not upon the sand, but is founded on the rock.

That rock is Christ Jesus.

He calls the steadfastness of His doctrine a rock, because in truth His word or His commands are stronger than any rock.

If we hear and take heed of His commandments it will help us build a solid foundation of faith and strength in our character, setting one above all the storms and floods of human affairs and calamities.

Job is a model witness, who received all the assaults of the devil, and stood immoveable; and the apostles too are our witnesses, for that when the waves of the whole world were beating against them, when both nations and princes, both their own people and strangers, both the evil spirits, and the devil, and every engine was set in motion against them, they stood firmer than a rock, and endured it all.

Likewise we can do the same and build a firm foundation in our character simply by hearing and obeying the commandments and the word of God and praying unceasingly.

Our spirits will be strengthened and our faith increased and it will help fortify us against the wiles of the devil and his fiery darts.

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” – Luke 22:31-32

Finally let us follow the guidance of a wise father Helaman when he counselled his sons…

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless woe, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” – Helaman 5:12