“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer; for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, “Fear not, Paul,: thou must be brought before Caesar, and lo God hath given thee all of them that sail with thee.” (Acts 27:22-24 KJV)
Paul is bound for Rome to be tried for treason against the Roman empire. A trial he has requested. Since his conversion, the enemy has been trying to thwart his mission and do to Paul what Paul had done to hundreds of Christians prior to his conversion-take his life. This is the final leg of Paul’s journey and Paul is very aware of the fate awaiting him. He DESIRES to confront Caesar and present the gospel and it appears due to this violent storm that may not be possible, for the ship is going down. Be of good cheer? Really?
Do you ever wonder if you will complete a task you believe the Lord has asked you to do because the opposition is so great? Me too! Is your concern for the people around you and what your faithfulness is costing them? Me too! Nobody sent me the memo when I was thirteen and asked Jesus to be my Savior to inform me that this one decision would affect everyone in my life I loved! I thought it was just about me. I was so, uninformed. This decision has affected every choice I have made since that night in June so very long ago. Some of the choices, though the best for me, were gut wrenching, heart breaking, and life changing. It changed where I would live, who I would love, what I would do in life, and every other who, what, when, where, and how. I do not regret following Jesus! The hardest part of following Jesus has been seeing how my decisions affected those around me. It has cost me and them. The price of my discipleship.
I do not have the same assurance Paul had on that dark night in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. I have seen no angel, nor heard from His holy lips all will be well. However, this life of faith has brought me to the same conclusion as John Calvin who wrote, “Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.”
“The world is not falling apart, it is falling into place.” (Casting Crowns, Just be Held)
Do we believe that our Great God is in control? We say we do, but do our actions match our words? If God has called us to something, He will equip us for the task, protect us and those around us, and He will bring glory to Himself. Is this our confidence?
Jesus said “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) The enemy will do whatever he can to take our eyes off the goal. So, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:14) trusting He will care for those I love and care about very much. I believe He will give me all “that sail with me.” He is the God of the Impossible!
Treading with confidence in stormy seas,