Peace in the storm. . . how to navigate.
Have you ever been in a boat when a storm came up and the water became suddenly angry? Depending on the size of your vessel, why your very life might have been threatened!
I had sailed on the Sea of Galilee three different times and her waters were just as serene as they could be
. As I hung my bare feet over the edge and looked around the shoreline at the surrounding hills, I thought ‘Jesus took in this same view! Jesus sailed on these very waters!’ Just the thought enraptured my soul.
At the same time, I admit thinking about Matthew, Mark and Luke telling the story of how rough the sea waters got that the disciples (fishermen mostly) were afraid for their lives. How could it be? But then - my fourth boat ride was very different; we were almost prohibited from leaving shore. Then I got it, though we were just navigating heavy winds during the day, nothing like those men were battling and our boat was three times the size of the disciples’ fishing boat.
As the Roman prisoner Paul sets sail from Caesarea bound for Rome (Acts chapter 27), our writer and guide, Luke, goes into detail about the journey. Unlike the watercraft of the several disciples on the Galilee, this ship is carrying 276 men and cargo of wheat--for which the crew will not get paid unless the wheat is delivered. The scripture passage, Acts 27-Acts 28.15: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+27-Acts+28.15&version=NLT
Why is this journey part of the divinely inspired Word of God and why should we care to read it? One reason: real names, real places, a legitimate timeline and laying out of the geography covered once again show the veracity of Scripture! It is a trustworthy historical record. How did Luke get these details? He was on board that ship himself, which indicates that the Roman officials who had tried Paul and remanded him on to Caesar in Rome did not consider Paul guilty of anything that called for incarceration or death; quite the contrary, they permitted Luke--a friend, physician and associate to travel with him. Only God.
In addition, the account is telling and valuable for our perspective because it once again shows the mettle of the man Paul, his unwavering faith and determination. It shows us that God’s ways will always be higher than our ways and that we ought always look to him first--as our port in the storm, as our navigator and as our anchor.
Two kinds of storms in life, right? Those caused by natural forces that threaten to take us down or out. . . and those caused by hardship, trial, serious illness, injustice and the like, which may also threaten or consume us.
Begs the question, "Is there anything valuable to come from the storm?" Oh yes.
How many times have you heard ‘the safest place for a Christian to be is in the center of the will of God’? How do I spell b-a-l-d-e-r-d-a-s-h? I mean, how safe was Paul when “The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.” 27.20. How safe was Paul when the boat then shipwrecked on the Island of Malta? Paul was 100% in the will of God and still in great physical danger. (please read that again)
A storm oftentimes has value in it. It has a way of revealing character or the lack of it. Many think of being at peace as the opposite of being in a storm; I'm not sure that is true. Peace does not mean 'to be in a place where there is no trouble, turmoil or racket'; rather, it means being in the midst of all those things and still being calm in our heart. Ah. . . now that is peace. As someone said, "The storms of our life prove the strength of our anchor." Paul knew the strength of his anchor. Friend, no matter the severity of the storm, God is your port, your navigator and your anchor. The greatest storm in my personal life stands as a milestone which will forever mark a spiritual turning point toward a greater, deeper faith in my God. I should not wish it on you, but I would not trade it for the world either. I learned I could have inner peace despite the magnitude of the outer storm.
And here is what I know--no matter what is happening in this world today or on a personal level, our security must be in an Almighty God. God alone is our anchor, and we must look to him as our navigator and rest in him as our port in the storm.
Peace be still ~ a beautiful, but profound song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsIpGiz3SfQ
Trusting God right along with you,