But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. Acts 27:22 (NLT)
When I was growing up, my family and I vacationed each year on Rainy Lake. The large lake is a boundary water between Minnesota and Canada. Some years the entire camp of families would head out in a long flotilla, taking a day trip across the massive water to fish and enjoy one another’s company. The weather in that area of the country can be both beautiful and treacherous. I have vivid memories of being a child in one of the larger craft as our long line of boats hurriedly made our way back to camp amidst the rise of an unexpected gale. I can remember waves crashing over the bow of the boat and fearfully watching my dad, alone in his little john boat behind us, as it got battered by the rising waves.
While the storms I experienced in northern Minnesota are nothing to be compared with the life-threatening situations you’ll find on the open ocean, it nonetheless gives me an appreciation for the experiences related in today’s chapter. There is nothing quite like the realization of being in a small craft on a large body of water in the midst of nature’s fury. It is an unbelievably helpless feeling.
How encouraging must it have been for the passengers and sailors to hear Paul’s assurances as the storm raged uncontrollably into its second week. It reminded me this morning of the assurances God’s Message provides to me, and to all who place their faith in Jesus:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 (NIV)
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. I Peter 1:6-7 (NIV)
Today I’m reminded that life is filled with unexpected storms of many kinds. I can’t control the weather, nor can I control life circumstances that swirl around me. I can, however, be assured that God will faithfully see me through the storm if I will faithfully seek after Him.