Buildings built out of wood are temporary structures? What? Not in Oregon, the green state full of trees where I lived for the first 40 some years of my life! But in Uganda, there are termites here, there and everywhere. Building with wood can be an expensive choice here in the long run.
Structures built out of wood are temporary and often only last a few years. It is only a matter of time before the termites do their thing. You see, the termite population is huge here! You might think it is just a pile of dirt, but more likely, it is a termite mound.
More permanent structures are built out of red clay bricks with a layer of flat cement stucco over the top. It reminds me of the story in the Bible that talks about the wise man building his house. In Uganda, if one has the money, a firm cement foundation is poured. Houses here can take years to be built. You see, most people don’t borrow from the bank and then build it all at once. Instead, as the money is available, different stages of the house are built. When we first moved here, I wondered at all of the houses that looked like they had been started but then forgotten. I didn’t realize that this was actually just a house in progress. Now some were completely abandoned and all hope lost of finishing. But most of them were just a work in progress, it seems. It takes some real commitment and tenacity to finish a house here. Would that we would be so intentional about building our relationship with God and building a firm foundation.
After the house is completely built, a suitable section of cement veranda is then placed around the base of the house to help protect it from storms to prevent deterioration of the foundation. Houses that skip this step are in danger of not only corrosion from the surrounding soil conditions but also damage from storms. It is a layer of protection that is key to the survival of the foundation for a long future. Would that we put priorities in place to protect our relationship with God in such a way that it is preserved for all of our days.
If wood is used, it is often just thrown together without a foundation. Either sticks are used exclusively with mud thrown over them. Or sticks are used to frame it and wooden boards are nailed to the sticks. Then either grass or tin is placed on top for the roof, depending on the budget. But it is known that it will be a temporary structure and there is no reason to invest in a firm foundation. It is only a matter of time before either the termites eat through the wood or a storm knocks it down. Would that we choose the right materials to build our foundation with, the Word of God and not that of mere man whose words will pass away.
Yes, it reminds me that God calls us to cultivate our relationship with Him in much the same way. We should be building upon His foundation with purpose and resourcefulness. We need to put protections in place to preserve and continue nurturing/caring for it. When the storms come, that foundation will not waiver and the house will not fall. Instead our faith will give us hope and help us rely on Him Who truly builds the only foundation that will never fail. May each of us build our homes (and our hearts) on His foundation that withstands whatever comes our way!