Uncharted Waters

  1. Message: In Acts 27 Paul was being taken to Rome as a prisoner to face Caesar but he was treated kindly and respectfully by the centurion taking him. Paul warned them that their voyage was headed for disaster and they would suffer heavy damages and that even their lives were in danger, but they listened to the captain and ship owner instead of Paul. They thought their plan to avoid the storm and winterize the boat was working when they were taken off guard by a wind bearing down on them. The storm continued and Paul reminded them that he had warned them (nothing like an “I told you so”.) He advised them again and told them that an angel had shown him that they would continue to suffer damages to the extent of losing the ship but they wouldn’t lose their lives. They just had to run the ship aground. When things were looking their worst Paul encourage them to eat food and strengthen themselves for the fight ahead. He reminded them again that they would lose everything but not their lives. They were encouraged and they ate and then began tossing everything into the sea to lighten the load. When daylight came they found themselves in an unrecognized place that was perfect to run their ship aground into a sandbar. Every one of them made it to shore.
  2. Command: Be quick to humble myself in the crisis knowing God sees what I don’t.
  3. Promise: God is faithful to navigate us through our storms.
  4. Warning: Though it’s often the wise choice to be advised by and trust the experts, we have to listen closely to the voice of God when he warns us of things. God knows and sees things that even the experts couldn’t possibly prepare for.
  5. Application: As I read this I thought about the mindsets that had to change as they literally navigated throughthis life threatening storm. They went from navigating through a difficult voyage to trying to avoid the storm, to trying to protect the ship and its cargo and finally to just survive. That is a whole lot of reality to accept but it came as they accepted their lack of control with each loss until all they had left was their will to live.  I have never been shipwrecked but I have experienced loss. Loss or the threat of loss changes our perspective and quickly prioritizes what is most important to us. They weren’t ready for Paul’s insight when they felt like they had things under control. As they lost their grip even in their area of expertise, they became more willing to listen to the warnings Paul gave from God and sacrifice what they were previously trying to preserve. Several years ago my daughter went through a depression and was cutting herself. I did all I could do as a mom to navigate through it but the real break through  came when I acknowledged that as a parent I was completely out of my area of understanding. I tossed aside everything I thought I knew about parenting and begged God for help. At that time grades or accomplishments were the least of my concern. I just wanted my daughter to survive this crisis. As I listened to God I was encouraged and did what he told me to do one step at a time. Not only did we survive the storm that tried to claim her life, but we are closer than we have ever been and she is a thriving young adult who loves Jesus with all her heart!

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