Hurricane Michael was ranked the third most powerful hurricane in American history to hit the Atlantic coast. It came in behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille in 1969. Michael hit the panhandle of Florida the hardest and Mexico Beach got the worst of it. Mexico Beach is pretty much completely gone except for a single house. The house was built by a man named Dr. Lebron Lackey. Dr. Lackey finished building his home, “The Sand Castle”, just this past April. It’s the only structure still standing on the whole beach.
Dr. Lackey decided to build his home in such a way that if it was ever hit with gale force winds, it would survive. That meant he went way beyond the minimum codes required by the city for a single-family home. It meant he invested more than every single one of his neighbors. If they knew what it cost him in April, they might have thought that he was crazy. Now they think he is brilliant. Dr. Lackey had neighbors who stacked sand bags around their house as the winds began to pick up. The sand bags disappeared along with the house. It turns out that sand bags are no substitute for rebar and reinforced concrete.
As a pastor I am a storm-watcher by trade. I get calls when a particularly strong storm has hit someone’s home. I have watched some people crumble as the wind and the waves crash upon them and their faith like so many sand bags gets washed away. I have watched other people endure the storm like Dr. Lackey’s house and then when the storm ended, people would walk by and wonder how it ever stood so strong through such a terrible storm.
I remember reading a book by Walter Wangerin years ago titled, As For Me and My House. He talked about needing to rebuild his own marriage. He started with small acts of kindness and faithfulness. He began making the bed…every day. He began bringing his wife orange juice…every morning. The image he painted was the image of building a house brick by brick and nail by nail. He became extremely intentional about every day and every moment because every day provided the opportunity of making his home stronger or weaker. He was building a house that could survive a storm.
The one thing we know is that storms are coming. Every day I spend time in the morning with God is like laying a brick. Every act of obedience is like a nail. Every time I get to serve him I am reinforcing the concrete.
Your life may look like everyone else’s until the waves come and the wind blows. It’s only in the midst of a storm that you find out how well a house has been built.