Acts 27:23-25 “Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you. So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
There are seasons in life when we feel run aground, lost at sea, shipwrecked. This past year in my life saw a bit of all three. But the present season has been spent at shore, waiting to set sail again.
Standing on shore changed my perspective.
The ocean looks different from here. When I was in the whirlpool I couldn’t get my bearings or see what was going on around me – in fact it was me going round and round. Tears blurred my vision. But from the shore I could make sense of the disabling difficulties, and better see God’s hand at work.
I can also see my ship for what it was – structurally deficient. I tried to patch up leaks and plug holes. I was sure that winning the approval of others, earning the next high grade mark, or even acquiring the newest piece of outdoor gear would fix my ship. Surely I wouldn’t sink. But, in the words of Paul Tripp, I was often “pegging fresh apples to a dead tree”.
Sometimes we appear to bear fruit, as we fill our lives with Bible studies and church events, work shifts and even service activities. These are all good things, but it’s easy to just do, as we go around in the whirlpool of the semester. Our visible ten percent looks nice – but what gets uncovered when the storms hit?
C.S Lewis, in grieving the death of his wife Joy, likens his faith to a “house of cards” which God periodically comes and knocks down. But I would hasten to point out that He does not knock it down in any evil way, like the bratty child who plows through everyone else’s sand castles at the beach because he won’t make his own. Rather, God offers a new foundation, one which is more marvelous and solid than anything we had before. Let Him rebuild the house. Let Him captain your ship. He does not promise that there won’t be storms, but He does promise, like the angel did Paul, to save your life when you invite Him to lead, even if it means running aground.
John 14:1-2 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”