Whenever summer rolls around, I think about my family’s annual vacation when I was a kid. We would load up in the station wagon and head to Mobile Bay. My grandmother had a tiny, two-bedroom cottage on the bay, but it could sleep ten or twelve people with the den and screened-in porch.

Big storms would frequently blow through Mobile Bay when we were there. One time a massive storm was coming through and the adults debated whether to leave or ride it out. They decided to stay, tied everything down, and prayed it would pass soon.

I will never forget that night. The wind was howling. The lights went out. The thunder was like a freight train rolling through the yard. Lightning landed in great booms just a short distance from the porch. That little wooden house was literally shaking.

After the storm, trees were down, limbs were everywhere, and shingles were scattered. But that little house was still standing.

My grandmother was so calm through all of it. She had a strong faith. It was Ok to be scared, she said, but to remember that Jesus was with us.

It makes me think about what Jesus said about the wise person who builds their house on the rock. The rock stands for His teachings and His life. It means a complete dependence on Him. For the one who builds on that rock, when the rains of hardship and the winds of sadness and the storms of struggle come, a life built on him won’t fall down.

But, Jesus said, the foolish person builds their life on the shifting sands. These are the sands of self-reliance, of trusting in money, of possessions, of your GPA or your accomplishments, or of your career experience. When the rains come and the winds blow, that house will collapse because it’s not built on the rock.

It’s a question of trust. Whom do you trust, or in what do you trust? Many people don’t know these days. They’re not sure if they trust religious leaders, who sometimes have a reputation for being all about money and power and control.

People don’t know if they can trust the news. Is it biased or even false, and who to believe?

Can this politician be trusted? Can we trust this doctor or this lawyer? Can the market be trusted?

Distrust is a growing epidemic. However, Jesus seems to be teaching that you can’t have peace unless you know what you can depend on. When the storm comes, that’s not the time to discover that there’s nothing solid under your feet.

Yesterday I commented on where the Pharisees put their trust. Mark’s gospel says that Jesus taught, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely” (Mark 12:38-40, NIV).

Where did the religious leaders put their trust? It seemed to be in their reputation and connections, the influence they could wield over others. They had long robes — nice clothes — and they loved to be greeted in the marketplaces. In other words, they liked to be recognized for their position. They had the best seats in the synagogue and the feasts.

In contrast, Jesus noticed a poor widow giving an offering one day. She put in two small copper coins. Just a small gift. Jesus called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on” (Mark 12:42-44, NIV).

Her trust was in God. If she was being taken advantage of, she still gave. Her dependence on God wasn’t affected by an unjust system. Maybe she felt, I know this place and these people will take care of me as I grow old. Maybe she felt obligated, but it’s more likely that she knew where her hope and her help came from.

This is what a life of dependence on God looks like. That’s the life that stands.

One of my favorite new praise songs says, “I trust in God…my Savior…the One…who will never fail…no He will never fail…rain came and winds blew…I put my trust in you.”

Where will you put your two coins this week? Will you invest in the things that are eternal and will last? Or will you put your coins in that which doesn’t stand up in the storm?

I’m glad to be part of the FBC family. We are a generous church. We give in so many ways — with money, with time, with encouragement, with service. I’m grateful to be on the journey with you of following Jesus.

Have a wonderful week — and have no fear in the storm!