Building on a very solid foundation


Jim Honeycutt

Chaplain-Baptist Minister

I ran into an old friend last week that I had not seen in quite some while. It was wonderful seeing him after all this time, though I could tell by his countenance that the storms of life seemed to be hitting him pretty hard.

When I asked how he was doing, he looked me in the eye and with a heavy sigh said, “I’ve been in a dark place. God and I are wrestling.”

Standing there listening as the impact of his heartache manifested through his words, I saw the ravages of the tempest lingering in his eyes. It was if a dark seed of hopelessness had sprouted root in his heart. All the weight he felt, all the pain burning in his soul, all the disappointment he shouldered, he was looking for a place to unload. Yet his heart refused to release its hurts. I tried sharing hopeful thoughts, but I must admit I was really lousy in my choice of words. They all fell flat.

She came into the office yesterday, a client who wanted to pay her bill. We spoke in general terms for a moment or so, when my employee spoke up and asked how her husband was doing. Tears clouded her eyes while she shared the turmoil of facing the thought of him giving up on life. Again words stuck in my throat. Silently, I put myself in her situation trying to comprehend how I would deal with the thought of someone I loved so dearly not wanting to live any longer. My heart hurts for her. Yet all I can say is, “I am so sorry.”

My phone rings as I clean out my truck after coming home from the office.

“Jimmy, this is Patti,” says the voice on the phone, “I wanted to let you know they walked into Johnnie’s office yesterday morning and found him dead. They are not sure of the cause, so there will be an autopsy.”

Johnnie and I began in the insurance business about the same time 20 years ago. The lady who blessed me by helping get my agency started had also helped him. We spoke nearly week for the first few years, sharing stories of our experiences. We got to know each other very well, even singing some old hymns together occasionally. Our business grew, we lost touch… I grieved his passing and wondered about his wife and daughter.

It was nearly overwhelming as I sat outside this afternoon sharing my heart with The Lord. The emotions I had held at bay for several days began to leak out. And before long I found myself begging God for consolation, not for me, but for all those suffering, all those isolated, all those hurting from the damage this life on earth can inflict. How do I put into words the heartache of so many? “Expression alludes me Father,” I cry out. “Yet, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt You my Lord know the need. You know the hurt. Move as only You can, fill the void of doubt!”

A song from my childhood begins to hum deep in my heart. A song I learned sitting at the feet of a dear saint of God, Mrs. Brownie Bryan. Mrs. Brownie is telling a story about Jesus and a story he shared. She tells us the parable of the wise man and the foolish man. Then she begins to sing… The wise man builds his house upon the rock…. 

Brushing my tears aside, I find myself singing a song I haven’t thought of in nearly sixty years. I fumble a little with the words but the truth of it smacks me in the spiritual face… The rock is not my belief in Jesus Christ and what The Scriptures say about Him. The Rock is Jesus Christ and His Faithfulness to us. Jesus has said in the Scripture when speaking of those He called His own… My own sheep hear my voice and I know each one, and they will follow me. I give to them the gift of eternal life and they will never be lost, and no one has the power to snatch them from out of my hands. My Father, who has given them to me as His gift, is the mightiest of all, and no one has the power to snatch them from my Father’s care. The Father and I are one.”

I saw the practice of this truth played out time after time growing up. My father, Walter, stood with his full faith in God. While still a child I saw my father sing How Great Thou Art with hands raised while standing in a field of harvest ready maize that was laying on the ground, wiped out by a storm making the crop impossible to harvest. He had wept tears of sorrow as he poured himself out before God, finally surrendering all his pain to The Lord. 

As his voice rose in that field, a peace that passes all understanding drenched his soul. This is the hope I have received, and God offers to all, when Jesus is The Rock we stand on, the storms may billow, but His hope holds us fast. What have you built your house on?


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