by Sandy Kirby Quandt
The other morning a devotion I read in Streams in the Desert said, “You will never learn faith in comfortable surroundings.”
The devotion stated God gives us promises then steps back, allows the Tempter to come with a test that seems to contradict everything God promised, and God waits to see how much we believe.
Referencing the apostle Paul’s shipwreck as a prisoner on his way to Rome, the short devotion ended with this statement. “This is the time to look up through the storm, and among the trembling, frightened sailors declare, ‘I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.’ ” (Acts 27:25)
Well. Not being satisfied with relying on my memory of this episode near the end of Paul’s life, I went to Acts chapters 27 and 28. Like Reading Rainbow used to say, “Don’t take my word for it. Read the book yourself.” Or something like that.
The verses in these chapters reminded me of several things I’d like to share with you.
When we go through the struggles and storms of life, our faith tells us one way or the other we’ll get to the other side. Nevertheless, like Paul, before we get on the other side, we’ll probably run aground on some island. (Acts 27:25-26)
God knows where we’re going to run aground. He knows when and how it will happen. He knows the outcome and how beat up, bruised, and broken we’ll be when we reach it. God also knows that when we give thanks to him in the midst of our storms, we’ll be strengthened to keep on keeping on until the storm ends. (Acts 27:33-36)
After that, daylight comes.
BUT before we reach the calm bay in the distance, we hit a sandbar which destroys our ship. (Acts 27:39-41)
Jumping into the waves and grabbing onto the ship’s broken planks that float by, we finally reach the shore. (Acts 27:44)
Only to be bitten by a viper while gathering firewood. (Acts 28:3)
Onlookers gather around and speculate about what we must have done to displease God so much to deserve all we’ve endured. They wait for us to die from the viper’s venom.
Instead, the viper is thrown into the fire and dies. (Acts 28:4-6)
The best part of all?
God sends encouragers alongside to strengthen us for the next go ’round. Until such a time as God allows the Tempter to show up again, and we face life’s storms once more. (Acts 28:15)
Whether we are in a season where we need to be encouraged, or a season where we are called on to be an encourager, whenever we hit a sandbar and run aground, our Mighty Father is right there with us helping us make it safely to shore. Is that not so?
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So take courage! For I believe God! It will be just as he said! Acts 27:25 (TLB)
I wish you well.
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