Author and Singer/Songwriter Jennifer Rothschild recently shared her story in an issue of Decision Magazine.

When Rothschild was 12, her eyesight began to fail.  Throughout Junior High School, her situation worsened.  She was soon having difficulty performing standard tasks like opening her locker, catching a ball, or reading the chalkboard at school.

The last straw came when she and her mother went to visit a friend who lived in an upstairs apartment.  Jennifer was stumbling up the stairs, while her mother didn’t have any trouble seeing them.  After a trip to a hospital that specialized in treating illnesses of the eye, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a progressive deterioration of the retina that would eventually result in total blindness.

On the ride home, she dwelt on all that she was losing: “I'm not going to be able to drive a car. I'm not going to be able to be an artist…Are boys going to want to date me? How am I going to finish high school? Will I be able to go off to college?”

When she arrived home, Jennifer went and sat at her old piano, hoping to preoccupy herself by plunking out a tune or two.  She was surprised to find that she could play one song by ear: “It is Well With My Soul.”  Rothschild goes on, “It was a miracle that on that very dark day, God gave me hope and light through the gift of playing by ear. But the greatest miracle wasn't that I played ‘It Is Well with My Soul;’ the greatest miracle was that, because I was a Christian, it really was well with my soul.”

My sense is, if you were to ask Jennifer if she deserved to go blind, she would say no.  And she would be right.  She didn’t do anything to bring this on herself.  And yet she did lose her eyesight.  In spite of whatever innocence she had, she still suffered a debilitating illness.  What sets her apart is her ability to let God work through the tragedy.

The first step in building on the Rock this year is recognizing why we are doing it.  We are trying to build on the Rock, because we want to survive when the storms come.  And Jesus is sure to tell his followers that the storms will come.  No matter who we are, we will have to ride out some storms in our life.  That’s a given.  What is unknown is what the condition of our faith will be when the storm makes landfall.  I hope this morning you will start preparing for the storms you will face.

Robert Lee