It was like any other Thursday evening in Seffner, Florida – a suburb of Tampa. On 240 Faithway Drive, the Bush family, in their blue, one storey home was shutting down for the night. In fact, they had gone to bed.
Jeremy was in one room and his brother Jeff was in bed in another room. Around 11PM there was a deafening noise. Jeremy heard his brother Jeff scream but, by the time he got to his room to help, everything had gone. Weeping, Jeremy recounted later: “My brother’s bed was gone, his dresser was gone; his TV was gone and my brother was gone.”
A frantic call was made to 911: “The house just fell through. The bedroom floor just collapsed. My brother-in-law’s in there. He’s underneath the house…….”
Jeremy, desperate to save his brother Jeff, literally jumped in the sink hole himself and started shoveling through the rubble. Tragically, the house continued to collapse and the sinkhole got bigger and deeper. Jeremy himself had to be pulled out by first responders. But Jeff went down and his remains will not be recovered. They estimate the hole to have been 30 feet wide and 100 feet deep.
Inconsolable and broken-hearted, Jeremy said: “I couldn’t get him out. I tried so hard. I tried everything I could.”
Before the remains of the house were levelled, crews salvaged some family valuables – among which were pictures, a family Bible and the American Flag. But what the family valued most – Jeff, he could not be recovered. As we pray for the grieving family, take a moment to think about the danger of other types of sinkholes – perhaps in our own lives.
Assuming the Ground is Safe
Sinkholes are quite common in some areas and you can study the geological factors that produce the sinkholes. The disturbing thing about sinkholes is that people assume they are on safe ground and are totally oblivious to the danger below. All looks good and all seems good but all is not good.
There may be a spiritual parallel here. We don’t read much about spiritual sinkholes but they are totally tragic on a level all of their own.
People sleep at night oblivious to fact that they are resting on a soft spiritual sinkhole. They spend their days at work or in leisure, making and spending money – just living their lives assuming all is well. All looks good; all seems good but all is not good.
Two Types of Builders
Jesus spoke of two types of builders in life: a wise builder who built his home on a solid foundation and foolish builder who took the shortcuts and worried about what was above ground not about the whether the ground itself was solid or not. He built on shifting sand and obviously when the storm came – that house was swept away. The one that survived was the home of the wise builder because it was on a rock foundation – not soft, shifting sand!
You are building for eternity. What do you have underneath? What is your foundation like? What gives you peace at night as you sleep?
Some Spiritual Sinkholes
If you are resting on anything or anyone else for eternity other than the Lord Jesus Christ, you are resting on a sinkhole. Let’s list a few common spiritual sinkholes:
• Many people have their prayers and feel reassured because they pray frequently and sincerely.
• Some have made some major changes in their habits and lifestyles and they are now much nicer people to live with.
• Others have been to an altar at a church service; they have responded to the invitation to come to the front; they have merely repeated the Sinner’s Prayer and signed a card; or they have a religious experience or healing.
• Sadly, some have answered a few questions and because they gave the right answers, they were told they were now saved and in God’s family.
• So many more were baptized as infants and were told that their baptism made them a child of God.
• Some are resting on their own faith – their strong belief.
The list could go on and on but the point is quite simple – if you are not resting on Christ as the foundation for your life and for eternity, you are in peril. You are on a sinkhole; it will ultimately cave in and suck you down.
Whether it is a sinkhole or sandy ground you have been building your life on – either way, a house built on such a ground will not survive the ultimate storms of life.
Sometimes a person is asked: “What helped you get through that horrible crisis?” They respond with: “My faith. I have very strong faith.” Don’t mistake faith for the rock foundation about which Jesus taught.
What do they mean: “My faith got me through?”
1. Their confidence that all things have a purpose?
2. Their resilience, tenacity or their stick-to-it-ness?
3. Their confidence that good will come out of evil?
4. Their upbeat grin-and-bear-it pep-talk: ‘If it doesn’t kill you outright, it’s character building?’
5. Their belief in God and that He will see them through the storm if they hang on tightly? or
6. Their strong belief in their religion?
None of the six possible explanations for ‘my faith’ are satisfactory for eternity. Spiritual sinkholes for sure! When it comes to a rock solid foundation for time and eternity it doesn’t so much matter how much faith a person has but what the object of their faith is. The Bible clearly teaches that faith in Christ alone saves a person from their sin and from perishing in a lost and dark eternity.
Belief in God is Good but Not Enough
Perhaps you are looking at #5 above and wondering why that could not be the right answer for life. There are people who sincerely believe in God but will never be in Heaven. They are called Theists. We learn from the Bible, even the demons believe in one God and they tremble at the thought (James 2:19) but they will never be in Heaven.
In fact, the parable Jesus told about the two types of builders was in response to people who called Him, “Lord, Lord…” but He knew it was shallow and superficial. Here’s what He said:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27
Are you resting on a spiritual sinkhole or building your life on insecure and shifting sands that will never survive the ultimate storm of life – death? No foundation below; no footings; nothing solid; no security. Have you been more concerned about the structure above the ground than what the structure rests upon? Does that describe your life? Building on the surface but a sinkhole below?
Build Your Life on Christ
Jesus Christ is referred to as the foundation in 1Corinthians 3:11; as the Rock in 1Corinthians 10:4 and in multiple places throughout the Word of God – He is referred to as the Rock or the Stone – which often is rejected.
King David wrote: He (The Lord) drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God….Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust….” Psalms 40:2-4
Faith in Christ Alone Results in Eternal Life
“For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish,
but have eternal life.
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www.ap.org Associated Press