Ever feel like your life is a shipwreck? Yep. Every now and again, it’s our turn to experience life out of control. It’s part of the human condition. What can we do when those times overwhelm us? Do we listen to the good sense of those around us in order to avoid shipwreck?
In the Book of Acts in the Bible, we read about Apostle Paul’s journey to Rome. This trip included a shipwreck by the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. Instead of wintering in a harbor for the winter (which made the most sense!), the decision to push ahead on to Rome sent the ship and its passengers out on to open sea—and iffy weather.
Paul did warn them that no good would come of this, but they sailed anyway, and he was right. The winter weather moved right in at the beginning of the voyage. Imagine the 14 days that came and went while dark clouds billowed and winds filled their sails one direction, then another. With no control over the ship, it listed this way and that way and careened over the surface of the sea.
Finally, they hit the tides where two seas met, and took soundings. In the dark, they knew land would be near and so would be rocks. In panic, most of the men were ready to jump overboard, but Paul insisted they stay on board and no life would be lost.
Yep, I can relate to those billowing clouds and yet, I tend to sail forth anyway. After all, there are things to get done, right? Or are there? What if we stop to listen to the Voice of Reason before jumping to avoid the consequences of our actions?
“Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved,” Paul cautioned several sailors as they lowered a skiff in those dangerous waters. When the rocky shore indicated land was indeed near, what kind of courage might it have taken to listen to Paul and stay aboard the ship? After all they had been through, they risked waiting, their ship breaking apart and being dashed against the reef. Death appeared to loom over them.
So, you can’t change your situation and your ship is out of control. What can you do? The rudder is broken, the sails are torn and water sloshes over the bow. Trusting God is a risky business sometimes.
Resist the urge to DO SOMETHING and wait. Hang on to the mast and wait for God’s deliverance. Praying is a really good option here. You may be paralyzed and unable to formulate any plans. But God can.
I have often wanted to hide. Courage in the face of opposition seemed so far away. Hiding seems the easier thing to do at the time, but it’s harder to live with in the long run. Obscurity can become a habit. Facing the threat makes the mouth dry and the heart palpitate, but once done, you can hold up your head and face the rescue that God brings.
Accept The Risk
It takes courage to hold on in scary times. It’s a risk. But when we accept that risk and believe that God will cover and see us through to a wise resolution, we reflect His character.
“And so it was that they all escaped safely to land” Acts 27:44b.