He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
— Matthew 16:15–18 There is never an opportune moment for disaster to strike. Never a perfect time for the perfect storm. When Harvey’s flooding waters devastated southeast Texas last year, my daughter who then lived in the Houston area never once said, “It was a good day for a hurricane,” as she watched the encroaching waters rise throughout her community, turning Harris county into an urban swampland.
Looking out over a smoldering landscape and the gut-wrenching suffering left in his wake, American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman rightly assessed the horror he could not erase from his mind saying, “War is hell.”
There just isn’t a good time for a bad thing. Hurricanes, tornadoes, war, stock market crashes, bankruptcies, fire, death, sickness and disease, pain and suffering, your child’s missing teddy. Life is filled with things that rattle our nerves. And when the fragile earth beneath our Humpty-Dumpty feet begins to shake (and it will) we need an anchor, a durable and dependable rock of safety to stand on that will provide security in those unsettling moments. A rock, strong and certain, that will not, cannot fail.
The church is the representing agent of that rock. His name is Jesus, and “everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:11)