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Built on a firm foundation 

CMS worker N is based in South East Asia. Her experience visiting a building founded on soft, soggy soil reminded her of a deep and powerful gospel truth. 

One Saturday recently, a friend and I decided to play tourist. We went to what was once, many years ago, an important government building It hasn’t been used in any official capacity for a long time and the buildings had fallen into disrepair. But in the last few years, an organisation has been working to restore it and open it to the public. 

 It’s still the rainy season, but God blessed us with an unusually dry and even sunny afternoon for our outing. And our friendly tour guide helped us to understand more about the history of this land we call home. It was a refreshing change of pace and an enjoyable day.  

Symbol of strength

One of the things that has stuck in my mind after our tour is the building that was the first to be built on the site. Its outer structure has already been beautifully restored. They are still working on the inside, but we were permitted to have a look around anyway. The rooms are large and lofty. Mighty steel beams and intricate decorative details abound. The central section is still covered in scaffolding, and we had to duck our heads to avoid a few beams, but even so, we could appreciate the grandeur of a majestic double spiral staircase, each post of the stair rail adorned with the image of the royal head of state. This hall was built to be the main entrance to the entire complex, and I can imagine how impressive it would have been. A symbol of might, of power, and of authority. 

But there is a problem. The architect of this beautiful building didn’t account sufficiently for the land upon which he was building. It stands not too far from the river, on soft, often sodden, soil. Before it was even completed, the massive central section, and that impressive staircase, had slowly begun to sink into the ground. When our guide pointed it out, I could quickly see how the outer wings slant downward, dropping by a couple of feet as they approach the central building. Looking even more carefully, I could see cracks indicating structural damage. This building is not as strong as it looks. 

Shifting, sinking sand 

This year I suspect a lot of us have experienced more uncertainty than we are used to. Circumstances seem to shift with rapidity and unpredictability as the world tries to deal with COVID-19. The ground on which we stand can seem like shifting, sinking sand. Maybe we no longer feel as strong as we used to. Maybe our impressive outer façade has developed a few cracks. There are times I’ve certainly felt the instability, as well as my own uncertainty and weakness. But as I was pondering that building, built on sinking soil, I was reminded of these words: 

His oath, his covenant, his blood 

Support me in the ‘whelming flood 

When every earthly prop gives way 

He then is still my strength and stay. 

On Christ the solid rock we stand! All other ground is sinking sand. 


Ask God to remind all who belong to CMS, and those they work with, that true security is found only in Christ.