During those many stormy seasons you’ll experience in life, you learn important lessons about who you are and who God is and as you move forward through the seasons of your life, your situation will change for the better– but it will start within you, and then between you and the Lord, and then around you! But along the way, in that season of waiting, some people experience a shipwreck in their faith. Even if believers survive the storm, some will arrive on the other side of it broken and damaged, weakened and only seeing wreckage everywhere. Bitter. Angry. Fearful. Filled with doubt. Wounded. Has that ever been you?
It’s one thing to experience a shipwreck emotionally, but it’s entirely another thing to experience a shipwreck spiritually. Believers experience a shipwreck in their faith because, as they move through life’s more difficult seasons, they become weakened by the storms. They don’t maintain their faith in the Word, through prayer and in a lifestyle of worship that keeps their connection to the Spirit of God strong. Then, when the biggest waves of the storm come, they are battered and broken and devastated. Remember, whatever it takes to break you, the enemy will send- and whatever it takes to make you, the Lord will provide.
Paul Shipwrecked Sailing “Under the Lee”
In Acts 27, Paul was on his way to Rome, as a prisoner. As he journeyed, it is recorded that Paul shipwrecked because the sailor he was with, “put out to sea and sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us.” In sailing, “under the lee” is a very dangerous weather condition in which the wind is blowing perpendicular to the direction of the ship, which would cause the ship to wreck by slamming sideways into the shoreline. As the Apostle Paul journeyed, the captain of the ship made a choice to sail “under the lee of Cyprus”, and they “arrived with great difficulty” at their destination. Not wanting to experience that anymore, Paul spoke up about the next leg of his journey and said, “this voyage will be with injury and much loss”, but “the centurion was persuaded more by the captain and the owner of the ship than by what Paul said.” (Acts 27:11) The result? Paul shipwrecked and his words proved true.
Sometimes the storms in life will come because of your own choices, and other times, you’ll experience storms because of the choices of others that were thrust upon you. “Sailing under the lee” means you’re trying to weather the storm, save the ship and avoid slamming into the shore and being smashed to pieces, so what is there to do?! Paul shipwrecked, yes, but he lived and multiple miracles happened as a result. Why? Because through all he felt or experienced or saw or walked through, he didn’t blame God. He didn’t question “why?!” He didn’t turn his face from the Lord. He knew that there was no hope and no help apart from the Lord. Paul drew near to the Lord and he did more than survive his shipwreck- he saved everyone on board too.
Surviving the Shipwreck, Paul Swam
“For there stood by me this night the angel of God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying….” (Acts 27:23) Everyone wants answers to life’s difficult questions we all ask. But if we don’t actively turn to the Lord in our pain and fear, we will be vulnerable to the enemy’s strategies to sink us and shipwreck our faith. When life gets hard, some seek answers to life’s pain and questions apart from the Word of God or when people have seen misrepresentations of Christ or misunderstood God’s power or plan, they walk away from their faith altogether, or become ensnared by the enemy through their attempts to find reason, meaning, definition or answers. But the Lord had the glory through Paul’s experience because Paul didn’t stop seeking the Lord. He needed a word from the Lord to save his life, and in order to receive that word, he had to stay close. Will you sink or swim? NEVER GIVE UP. Seasons of sailing “under the lee” are dangerous spiritual territory, so you’ll need a word from the Lord to keep going, to stay close to the Lord and to stay strong, in case you have to swim to shore!
Thought for today: When God Doesn’t Calm Every Storm
Seeking answers apart from the Lord will tempt you to fall into “other doctrines” like “fables and endless genealogies, which cause debates rather than godly edifying, which is in faith.” (1 Timothy. 1:4) This will leave you emotionally and spiritually vulnerable, ripe for the enemy’s harvest. “Be careful,” Paul warned the church. “Lest anyone captivate you through philosophy and vain deceit, in the tradition of men and the elementary principles of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) While the rest of the world is panicked about the storm, close inward and stay close to the Lord.
People will express doubt, you must speak faith. People will express fear, you must combat that spirit with hope in Christ. People will challenge your trust in the Lord, but you must “lean not on your own understanding”. You will be tempted to seek answers apart from the Lord- don’t fall into the trap! God is the only source of truth and revelation in existence. God doesn’t calm every storm- so sometimes you’ll need to swim, but there is wise purpose and a plan… and He is with you. KEEP GOING!
- “Savior of the Shipwreck”
- “When the Righteous Cry Out, God has TWO Reponses”
- “Casting Out Doubt: “Lord, I Believe…Help My Unbelief!”
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Way of the Worshipper on Amazon – and AVAILABLE NOW you can also purchase The Way of the Worshipper: A Devotional Workbook for deeper study, personal examination and spiritual growth!