After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.” (Acts 27:21-22)
I love this passage, because I’ve always been taught “God will see you through the storm.”
But usually when you hear that truth, it’s taught from a passage like the one where Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat, and then they got into a storm. It makes sense that God would see me through that kind of storm. After all, protection is part of the package of obedience, right? So if God sends me to the mission field, He’ll provide. If He calls me out on the water, He’ll help me walk on it. If He sends me into a battle, He’ll give me the victory. But what about when I get myself into trouble? What about when it’s my own fault? What if it isn’t just the devil? Maybe you created your own storm. You messed up. If you had it to do over, you’d do it differently. In the above passage of Scripture, the ship was in a storm because the sailors wouldn’t listen to what God had told Paul. And it was going to cost them. Paul said that the ship would indeed be destroyed. Let the ship represent whatever you think you can’t live without … whatever you thought was carrying you or holding you up. When a storm comes, if your hope is in the boat, that’s a death sentence. But before Paul predicted the destruction of the ship, he slipped in one little word. Only. “Only the ship will be destroyed.” What does that imply? The ship might be going down, but I’M NOT! God is still with me, no matter the storm. You may be in a state of panic today because you allowed your courage to be tied to your conditions. But get your hope out of the boat and say, “God, even if I have to doggie paddle my way to the shore, I’m still coming after You. There’s no devil in hell that can stop me from pursuing Your purpose.” Declare today that your hope and faith are in God.
This Sunday at South Side, we will celebrate the purpose of being a father. Worship begins at 10:45, and we hope to see you there.
Barry Pettit is lead minister at South Side Church of Christ in Washington Court House.