“O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress. My God in his steadfast love will meet me…” (Psalm 59:9-10)
My friend Laurie looked like a fashionable Chico’s model with her cropped silver hair and large, tranquil eyes. The winter had been a hard one, robbing her health, stripping away her hair the way cancer is apt to do. I listened as her story tumbled out as we spent an hour on my couch in the spring. She had weathered a horrific storm and broken branches were still strewn on the ground. That wolf of fairy tale fame blew down houses built with straw and sticks. Hers was built of bricks.
I remember the day the first layer of stones was fixed. It was on another couch over a dozen years before. Her blonde hair was longer then, her eyes uncertain. She attended our young mothers’ Bible study, and wept through the sessions. I couldn’t help but notice her and knocked on her door two weeks later. She let me in. Far more significantly, she let the Savior in, welcomed him with wide-open arms. He moved in, took up permanent residence, and she flourished in his embrace.
Thirsty to learn, she drank from the Word, and gobbled down the Bread of Life, hungry as she was for real food. The Lord swept her off her feet, taught her to dance in his robes of Righteousness, and showed her the way to go. Years passed, time prevailed, she moved away. I heard cancer had come to call, stood on the threshold threatening to huff and a puff and blow her house down. On most days she simply languished on her couch, strength sapped, while it railed against her on all sides.
The Lord whom she loved carried her then, stayed by her side, and proved himself true. Bricks were in place, the ones molded from perseverance and trust, the ones marked with promises he had given her over the years. She held onto them, especially on those days when she could hardly hold anything else. And the ones who had helped her mix the mortar, sift the sand, and bake the bricks, they rallied round her in ways she could hardly have imagined before that storm blew into town.
“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:25).
Elizabeth A. Mitchell
Photo: Paul Westel