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.
A few days ago, Hiram and I made a quick, midweek trip to Wisconsin to see our son and his wife. The weather was gorgeous, so while the young folk were at work, we explored winding country roads we usually passed by in a hurry. Finally, we had time to investigate the “scenic overlook” mentioned on cryptic road signs ignored during other visits. We parked the car and followed the path, expecting to see a lovely valley complete with a sparkling river, and perhaps one of the large mounds scattered throughout southwest Wisconsin.
Instead, in the distance we could see the famous House on the Rock clinging to the side of a limestone cliff. While I snapped several photos of this feat of engineering, something my dad used to say came to mind. It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.
We hiked back to the car and the the sight-seeing road again. But I kept thinking about the House on the Rock as a metaphor for our lives since Hiram left work early because of back pain in late May. One day he was training for a half- marathon. The next day, the pain was so bad, he couldn’t walk. He spent two weeks in bed. He followed the doctor’s orders and waited for the pain to ease. It didn’t get better, so it was back to the doctor for tests, more waiting for results, then a diagnosis, a referral to a neurosurgeon, and finally successful back surgery.
In the weeks leading up to the diagnosis and surgery, we prayed a lot. We talked a lot. We sat on the edge of our own persona cliff, peering into the unknown and asking God plenty of questions:
Why are you doing this, God?
Will Hiram have to live with this pain the rest of his life?
Will he be able to work again?
Be physically active again?
Should I look for a teaching job?
How will You bring good out of our family’s pain and sickness and unwanted change?
The night before surgery, Hiram said, “I’m ready for whatever the outcome is. Whatever happens, it will be good.”
When he said those words, we didn’t know the surgery would be successful. We were still sitting on the edge of the cliff. We were still peering into the unknown. But in those weeks of uncertainty we learned to cling to the promises and goodness of God. The more we did, the more the Rock beneath our precariously placed feet stood firm.
Through it all, God impressed upon us a precious truth. Our cliff was not a fun place to visit, but upon the firm foundation of the Rock of Ages was and is the best place to live.