For most, if not all of us, it is not a matter of “if” but “when.”
Paul had dotted all the “I’s” and crossed all the “T’s”, but the Bible tells us that “(they) hit a reef, and the ship began to break up.” This remains a big mystery when you follow the sequence of events carefully.
- Paul had prayed.
- Paul had made a positive confession of faith.
- Paul had seen heaven come down in the middle of the violent storm.
However, life threw him curves even though he seemed to be doing all the right things. His life reflects many episodes that remind me of mine.
Take note of this.
- This storm and sinking ship was not in their original plans.
- It came totally unexpected to many on board.
- When they finally saw it coming, they did every thing that was humanly possible to avoid the tragedy, but it happened anyway.
Learning to deal with life when it throws you curves is one of the most important lessons you will ever learn, but we avoid it like a plague or sink into a devilish denial.
It reminds me of the young man who walked into the office of a psychiatrist with a fried egg on top of his head and a piece of bacon dangling over each ear.
Calmly the doctor greeted the young man, and then asked the logical question. “Now, young man, what can I do for you?”
Startled and surprised the young man replied, “Oh, no sir. I don’t need anything. I’m just here to get some help for a friend of mine.”
I get the impression that he was a member of the SS Fraternity. No I don’t mean Social Security or Secret Service. I mean the Super Spiritual Society. They ignore facts and call it faith. They are pretenders not contenders who spend their lives in a state of denial.
Living under delusions and illusions can and will usually have devastating conclusions! Denying that you will not blister if you sit out in a torching 100 degree sun will not isolate you from a sun stroke or deep burns and blisters.
Building a boat was not a dreadful, shameful lack of faith on Noah’s part. It was the very opposite. He saw a curve coming and prepared for it. The Bible states this clearly. “By faith Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…” (Hebrews 11:7)
Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He didn’t promise to keep us out of tribulation (curves in life), but He did promise to give us peace in the time of tribulation!
Paul discovered that peace when curves came into his life. The ship was sinking, but his faith was soaring. Battered by winds and soaked by a monsoon he shouted, “Be of good cheer: for I believe God…” (Acts 27:25)
He had a feisty, fighting faith that refused to quit. Curves could not crush him. Disappointments could not destroy him. He set an example for us to follow when curves come our way.
Always accentuate the positive.
That goes against human nature and takes some glamour off the headlines. Sinking ships; howling, winds; hidden rocks; the trauma of seeing and feeling the ship underneath your feet ripping apart; cascading end over end into the swirling water; sinking beneath the water and rising again like a human cork; desperately fighting to keep your head above the water and the water out of your nostrils. That’s what grabs attention and sympathy.
But the really big story was summed up in just 6 fantastic words: “Everyone made it to shore safely.” (The Message 27:44) It’s the success story of survival. It’s the triumphant song that rises above the tragedy. We made it! That’s the positive side of a horrible story.
I admit that roses have thorns, but thank God thorns have roses. Don’t spend your time looking for thorns when curves come your way. Start counting the roses, and accentuate the positive.
Acclimate (adjust) to existing circumstances without seething in hostility.
Curves that come in life do not usually leave us the same as we were before they came our way. You must not hold on to the memories of the past regardless of how good or bad they were. Things may never be as they were again. Turn them loose. Let them go without slipping into a sloppy slough of hostility.
Hostility ordinarily does more harm to the person who insists on being hostile than it does to the person to whom hostility is directed. Don’t let hostility make you an emotional basket case.
Paul could have been angry at the world. He lost everything, but he didn’t lose his cool. He could have been in a rage, but he adjusted to what life brought his way. Of all things, he began to do something for others. He refused to have a self pity party. He became involved in serving people that he didn’t even know and whether intentionally or unintentionally this kept his mind off of himself.
If you need hope, give someone hope. If you need love, give somebody love. If you need a hug, give a hug. The Bible declares, “Give and it shall be given unto you…”
Affirm your faith in God when your ship is falling apart
Paul said, “I believe God…” (Acts 27:25) Say this with me now. I believe God is near not far away. I believe God is Sovereign and in charge of my life right now. I believe by God’s help I will survive and thrive regardless of what I see and feel at this moment. When curves come my way, I still believe God!
Believing God Together!
Pastor Jimmy & Bob