If you want something to collapse, compromise its foundation.
We’re in the housing business, so we know foundations are crucial. We learned this lesson the hard way in 2010.
In 2009, we bought a commercial lot for what we thought was a pretty good price. We planned to build a 12,000 square-foot building with a large retaining wall at the back. Unfortunately, as we found out after construction, the soil was not good building soil. (We know, we should’ve done soil tests, but we wanted the lot and rushed to buy it.)
We completed construction and moved in and everything was great. We had dozens of tenants in place. It was buzzing with activity – all was good and well with our first commercial real estate venture.
That is until Feb. 3, 2010. We were walking at the back of the property inspecting our 30-foot-high retaining wall and noticed a slight outward angle in the wall. Oh snap! That’s not good, in case you’re wondering.
As we returned to the front of the building, the wall totally collapsed! It felt and sounded like an earthquake. We rushed around to the back of the building and all we could see was dust in the air and a pile of concrete blocks sitting at the bottom of the lot. (David: I think Jason started scream-crying, but I can’t remember.)
The retaining wall expert we had just retained rushed over immediately when we told him of the collapse.
This was a bad day for us, but, like many bad days we’ve all faced, it was about to teach us one of the most valuable lessons in life.
After reviewing the wreckage our expert told us, “Boys, this wall didn’t have a proper foundation. There was no way it was going to last through all the rain we’ve had lately, so it was just a matter of time before it fell.”
Our lesson: When foundations are compromised, things collapse.
It took eight months to rebuild the wall. And we spent three months just on the foundation. In some places, we dug down more than 20 feet just to hit solid ground.
Today, our retaining wall is not going anywhere. It’s built on a firm foundation!
America was built upon a firm foundation, too; yet over the years it has been compromised.
Our first president said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
Now that is a firm foundation.
Yet today, and over the past few decades, we’ve rejected God and the Bible, and our “wall” is falling as a result.
Take a look at a few of these compromising Supreme Court decisions:
1962: Engel vs. Vitale – prayer removed from school
Up until this decision, schools across America began each day of instruction with prayer – like this one in New York schools: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee and beg Thy blessing over us, our parents, our teachers, and our nation.” But this landmark case swept prayer out of our schools.
1963: Abbington vs. Schemp – Bible reading removed from school
The Holy Bible on which our first president placed his hand to swear his oath of allegiance – the same book used by subsequent presidents for two centuries – was removed from our public schools. Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” Oh boy.
1980: Stone vs. Graham – removal of Ten Commandments from school
After we removed public fellowship with God (prayer and Bible reading), we sought to live without His boundaries – we got rid of the Ten Commandments. The Court’s majority opinion said:
“If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments. However desirable this might be as a matter of private devotion, it is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.”
May it never be – our school children obeying the Commandments!
Since 1963, prayer, Bible reading and the Ten Commandments have been replaced by drugs, condoms and violence of unprecedented order – and the list goes on.
Psalm 11:3 states, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
What we can do is rebuild them! But we can’t start rebuilding until we turn back to God in humble repentance.
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
We must realize though that political change is not required for repentance. Repentance is a matter of each individual acknowledging that he or she has turned from wholeheartedly serving the Lord and then turning back to God in individual obedience.
For too long, we’ve been waiting for our politicians to bring about political change for the nation. We can’t wait for that. We, the grassroots, must walk in repentance and obedience ourselves. Then we will be the true change that our nation so desperately needs.
In our marriages, our homes, our workplaces and our communities, we must return to the Lord with our hearts and our voices to ensure that this great “wall” called America doesn’t collapse on our watch. Those actions are going to require courage, though, because we’ll be living differently. But with that courage, we can instill in the next generation the value of a good foundation so that they too can rest secure.
We’re in for re-building this wall – starting with a foundation of repentance – and we hope you are, too!