In Gordon MacDonald’s book Building Below the Waterline, he cites David McCullough’s book The Great Bridge in which the author tells a fascinating story about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, which spans the East River, connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn. In June of 1872, the chief engineer of the project wrote,
“To such of the general public as might imagine that no work has been done on the New York tower, because they see no evidence of it above the water, I should simply remark that the amount of the masonry and concrete laid on that foundation during the past winter, under water, is equal in quantity to the entire masonry of the Brooklyn tower visible today above the waterline.” †
The Brooklyn Bridge remains a major transportation artery in New York City today because 144 years ago the chief engineer and his construction team did their most patient and daring work where no one could see it: on the foundations of the towers below the waterline.
At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his listeners “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." (Matthew 7.24-27)
The Lord creatively challenges us to think about the foundation on which our lives are based.
† Gordon MacDonald, Building Below the Waterline (Peabody, Massachusetts, 2011), 1.
Blue skies, sunny, 80 degrees. There’s a good chance that the morning forecast in heaven is perfect. Here on earth, though, we get freezing rain and all sorts of calamities. Storms in life are inevitable. The first response may be to cry out in fear. But if we have ears, we may discover a surprising peace, a deeper wisdom, and a more binding love.