Have you ever felt like your life was crashing down?
Perhaps the relationships that meant the world to you came suddenly to an end. Maybe, you found yourself in a financial crisis. It could be that a close family member was faced with a life changing diagnosis and you felt hopeless. Whatever the case may be, have you ever felt the pain of feeling like today’s storm would last a lifetime. Sometimes, the situations of life can feel so perilous, so hopeless that you wonder, when will things ever be calm in my life. In these moments, we are faced with the difficult choice of trusting God and trying again or giving up.
We get to choose if we will break down or breakthrough when the storms come.
Recently, I read the story of Paul in Acts 27. In this moment, we read that Paul was aboard a ship alongside 275 others. A storm was raging so intensely that the sun hadn’t been seen for fourteen days. With the waves tossing the ship violently and many of the passengers paralyzed by the fear of death, Paul proclaims,
“Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you. So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island” Acts 27: 21-26
In this moment, Paul tells each person that there will be tough times ahead. In fact, the very ship that was keeping them safe would be destroyed. Yet, what an encouragement that Paul doesn’t just leave them in suspense.
“Just before dawn, Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.”
Not a single hair lost!
I don’t know about you but the thought of being completely shipwrecked in a storm, and not a single hair being lost meant that the Lord was not going to just keep them alive but that He was going to keep them whole while He did it! AMEN!
I believe there are so many things God wants to show us about this story. Today, I want to lean into two crucial aspects of this story.
1.) We must obey the voice of the Lord.
Earlier in Acts 27, before the shipwreck occurs, the Lord speaks through Paul. In this moment, Paul informs the crew of the ship that the voyage would end with much damage. Yet, those in charge of the ship did not listen. They continued on, not heeding the warning of the Lord. In doing so, everyone was put in danger.
My friends, we must follow God’s voice 100%. I have found more and more that whenever we ignore God’s voice, we put ourselves in harm’s way. Whether, our disobedience leads us into sins of dishonesty or sexual immorality or our sin causes another person to be hurt, we must know that when God gives us a direction it is for our good. To the unbeliever, it may feel like God gives guidelines or rules to limit our fun here on Earth. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, when He leads us to do something or not do something, it is from a place of protection and leading us to the path he has set for us.
We must choose to fully submit ourselves to God’s voice. In doing so, He will always work things out for our good.
Delayed obedience is disobedience.
Half-way obedience is disobedience.
Obeying only when it “makes sense” is disobedience.
Much like a parent who gives instruction to a child, may we never become so
prideful that we think we have it figured out. I can with certainty say that every time I tried to chart my own path and ignore the voice of the Lord, it always ended in more irritation than blessing.
I ask you today, is there an area that you’ve chosen to willingly ignore His instruction? Is it the relationship that you continue, even though the Lord has told you to end it? Is it the vision God gave you of a business, or becoming a teacher, or writing for Him that you ignore? Is it in the television shows you watch? I believe, even today, the Lord is reminding you of that area you need to follow His voice completely. I implore you to no longer miss out on God’s best or even put yourself in the position for a “shipwrecked” moment of despair.
Some discomforts are avoidable when we choose to walk in His will.
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28
2.) God can use broken pieces to restore you.
One of the most powerful parts of this story, is the reality that ship crashed yet they all survived. It’s so important to realize that God didn’t save them by calming the storm and causing the ship to be unharmed. No, instead, every form of stability and what they believed would keep them safe, fell apart. When the ship fell apart, only broken pieces of wood were left. Those on the boat, both prisoners and crewmates, had to hold on to the remnants of the ship in hopes of being led to safety and restored.
So many of us, find ourselves in this same situation. It feels like life around us has completely fallen apart. And, not only are we facing the storms of life, even the areas that once felt safe have even let us down. We see this so often with those who have experienced church hurt, or have had to grieve the lost of a parent. But my friends, this story reminds us that there is hope.
I believe these broken areas of our life do not have to destroy us. The Lord can use every moment to bring restoration. You see, we all deal with tragedy. We all experience things that break us to our core. Yet, if we pause and look over our lives, we realize that we survived it.
The broken pieces are a reminder that you are a survivor.
The broken pieces are a reminder that you can keep going.
The broken pieces are a reminder that God carried you through what you thought would kill you.
The broken pieces are a reminder that you are still alive and that you weathered the storm.
My friends, we don’t have to throw away our past hurts. Instead, let’s use them as a reminder that God was able to see us through the unthinkable. Let’s use them as a way to share our testimony in a radical way. When we choose to reminisce on what God has carried us through, we find our strength and our courage to keep going!
There’s victory in trusting God in the good and the bad. I want to encourage you to trust God completely.
Heed his voice.
Know that no circumstance is beyond His reach.
You shall not be destroyed.
In Jesus Name.
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I look forward to seeing what God does in your life!