There was about a week in the winter of 2012 that I cried out to God, “Can you just give me 1 day without having to deal with any problems? Please, I am just asking for one little day.” I thought that if I could just get a quick little break, I could catch my breath and then I would be ready to go at it again. Every morning and night I would say this little prayer. I didn’t think it was too much to ask and I knew God could do it. I just hoped that He would be willing. After several days of begging, I got a very clear answer. “NO!”
There was no explanation. No promise of change. Just a “No!!”
As I sat there, I had a decision to make. Do I throw up my hands and admit defeat, or do I pick myself off the ground, brush the self-pity off and continue on my day?? Well, thankfully I know deep down in my heart that God is a good God and He knows what is best. He has a plan for me, a purpose and it is to bring me good and not harm all the days of my life. So I chose wisely and decided to leave this desire behind and get a new game plan.
Later on in the fall of 2013, I started to wonder again why certain situations continued to remain unchanged. I was starting to grow weary and needed some new found wisdom to give me strength to continue. Thankfully I had the opportunity to go to a Women of Faith conference and was also able to attend the WILD (Women In Leadership Development) training that occurred before the conference. Both were amazing!!
In one of the WILD sessions, Debbie Stuart broke apart Acts 27. This passage tells the story of Paul’s shipwreck. I had never done an in-depth study on this passage until that day and it was very eye opening.
Here are some of the main points that I took home from this study:
1. Paul didn’t blame others. Even though it wasn’t Paul’s fault that he was shipwrecked and he even warned them to not continue on their journey. (27:9-11)
2. Paul did not panic, ever, unlike the other sailors who started throwing much needed supplies overboard. (27:15, 18-20)
3. Paul knew God’s plan for His life and didn’t accept anything that was contrary to that plan. (27:21-26)
4. Paul lived in the midst of the trial. The sailors were so discouraged that they forgot to take care of their own basic needs; Paul did not. (27:34)
5. Paul served in the midst the trial. He took each opportunity he could to share about Christ. (Acts 28:8-10)
I think my favorite part of the whole chapter is verse 25 and 26. Paul writes : “So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as He said, but we will be shipwrecked on an island.”
This was so profound to me. Paul had confidence that God would make it right, that He had a plan. If he was shipwrecked, he knew that God would still take care of them. When you see a problem up ahead what is your tendency? Do you tend more towards the actions of the sailors and throw up your hands, forgetting to take care of yourself as you cry in the corner? Or are you able to fill yourself up with the much needed food and drink (spiritually and physically) to carry you through the storm and accomplish what He has called you to do? So often I start off strong, I’m in the Word, praying, and keeping my attitude in check. However, I find that I am not always prepared for the longer storms. The storm becomes too strong and land is nowhere in sight. I grow weary and instead of digging deeper into the Word I melt away, losing hope. Have you ever found yourself defeated, accepting defeat? I’m sure we have all been there a time or two. However, these times can be life changing situations, if we allow them. When you find yourself in a shipwrecked situation it is so important that you follow Paul’s example. He sought God. He knew and was confident in the plan God had for his life. He trusted that God would accomplish His plan. Paul acted like he was victorious even when the circumstances around him looked grim.
A lot of times, or all of the time, we have our own ideas on how we can be delivered or saved. We know we have the best solution for how this person can change and make my life a whole lot better. We think, “if this would just happen, I would be content.” Sometimes we have to remember that we do not have the right to be mad at God for not intervening, if we had forgotten to consult him in the first place. Other times it really isn’t our fault when bad things happen. We live in a world where Satan is alive and active. Satan is just looking for an opportunity to take you out. We also live with other people, who, like ourselves, have a flesh nature and at times make bad decisions too.
Regardless of why we are shipwrecked we have to remember that God is faithful. He is able and willing to bring us safely to shore, if we let Him do it in His way! Sometimes we just need to hear from God. Sometimes we need to serve others in the midst of the shipwreck. Paul witnessed to and healed the people of Malta, where they had been shipwrecked. Is there someone that you need to serve instead of just focusing on how to get your problem fixed? Other times we need to be spending time with God so that we can hear the warnings of trouble ahead. Then we can obey the warnings and avoid potential shipwrecks before they occur.
Regardless of what you need to do, it is so important that you seek the Lord first and ask Him to direct your steps.
I pray that you sail confidently, with the Lord as your captain in 2014!!
Psalm 25:8-10 The Lord is good and does what is right; He shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them His way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep His convenant and obey His demands