When we first arrived in Kandern, Germany, we were impressed by its beauty. Nestled among the forested hills we saw well-preserved buildings bursting with history, flowers cascading from window boxes and neat, clean sidewalks and streets. Two rivers that converge in the village gurgled placidly alongside the streets and sidewalks. The river banks were thick with large trees that reached toward each other across the river. It was charming, peaceful and serene.
Now, even though the hills and buildings are the same, the sights are different. The riverbanks have been ripped apart and many trees are gone. There are huge cranes, piles of reinforcing rod, stacks of concrete pipe, gigantic tractors with hungry scoops and oversized drills. There is a never ending parade of cement trucks lumbering through the city. My postcard village is now a construction zone with one-way traffic, detours and chaos.
Why is this happening? It is expected that there will be a year in the future when there is too much snow in the hills, when the temperatures rise too quickly in the spring or when an angry storm produces too much water for the rivers to handle.
If you live in the Minot area, you understand this picture. Generally, the river looks innocent and nonthreatening. However, you know that this little "mouse" of a river can roar. Without changing a potentially violent river, destruction of surrounding property is always possible.
God does the same with our lives. We all know that storms will come and rains will fall with a vengeance in our lives from time to time. To prepare us and protect us, he may tear up the tangle of things crowding the riverbanks of our hearts and widen the river so that when the floods do come, the resulting destruction in the rest of our lives will be less.
This picture is similar to the preparedness necessary when building a house as described in Luke. "Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell and the ruin of that house was great." Luke 6:47-49 (English Standard Version)
I pray that we might excavate our hearts of unnecessary distractions and build our lives on the foundation of God's word so that we might be better prepared for the torrential surge that will sometime race through the river of our hearts.
Helen McCormack writes the Reflections column every six weeks. She and her husband, David, are serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Germany.