Sometimes we think that when we’re in the will of God, our lives will be free of problems. We expect open doors, green lights and blue skies.
But many times it’s the opposite. Doors slam in our faces, obstacles appear in our paths, and storms threaten to blow us off course.
If you’re seeking to obey the Lord, expect opposition. Expect obstacles. Expect difficulties. But also expect that God will see you through.
There was no obstacle big enough to stop the apostle Paul. As we look at his life, we see that he always seemed to rise above his circumstances. When he encountered storms (both literally and figuratively), he knew that God had shown him what to do. And he would let nothing deter him from that course.
In Acts 27 we find Paul facing a literal storm. Paul, in Roman custody, had been placed on a ship with other prisoners bound for Italy. He had warned the officers not to take that particular route. But they ignored his advice and took it anyway. As a result, they were in great trouble—so much so that they thought the ship would break apart.
So Paul told them, “Take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said” (verses 22–25 NLT).
When Paul originally warned them that this was a foolish choice, they obviously thought he didn’t know anything about sailing. But when the storm hit and it looked as though they wouldn’t make it, suddenly Paul’s words had a new ring of authority in their ears.
Paul knew the storm was coming, and they did not. He warned them about the storm, but they ignored his warning. And when the storm hit, they began to despair.
In the same way, Christians know something that a lot of nonbelievers don’t know. Some people think that humanity will create its own utopia, will solve its own problems and bring about a new world order. They think that all nations of the world one day will live in peace and harmony. But any student of the Scriptures knows this won’t be the case.
We know that politicians will not solve all of our problems. We know that the nations will not be able to resolve all of their differences and live in harmony. We know that judgment is ultimately coming, And we warn people about it, just as Paul warned the people on his ship.
Paul knew a storm was coming. But even when they ignored his warnings, Paul didn’t lose hope. “Take courage!” he told them. “For I believe God. It will be just as he said” (verse 25 NLT).
He built his confidence and hope on four things—principles that also can give us courage when storms hit our lives.
1. Paul was conscious of the presence of God in the face of danger.
Notice what Paul said: “For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me” (verse 23 NLT). God may not necessarily send an angel, but He is with us in our storms as well. We may not necessarily hear an audible voice, but He certainly will speak to us through His word, the Bible. And like Paul, we can then reassure others that God is in control.
2. Paul knew that he belonged to God.
Let’s look again at what Paul said in verse 23: “the God to whom I belong.” Do you belong to God? If so, then you can take heart right now. You are God’s possession. You’re His property. In the midst of our storms, we can be comforted by the great truth that we belong to him. Time and again, God reminded Paul of His presence, no doubt when he needed it the most. In the same way, God knows what we need and when we need it.
3. Paul recognized he was on business for God.
He referred to God as “the God . . . whom I serve” (verse 23 NLT). Paul was a man under orders. He was going where God instructed him to go. In most companies today, if you’re injured on the job, you’re usually insured. As an employee, you’re taken care of. In the same sense, we’re under the Lord’s protection. And when we’re doing God’s work and God’s will, we’re under His protection. He’ll take care of us.
4. Paul was fully convinced of God’s faithfulness and was sustained by that conviction.
He said, “So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said” (verse 25 NLT). Paul was saying, “Hey, guys, the Lord has seen me through, and he’s going to finish what he has begun.” One of the things that amazes me about Paul is how he always seemed to rise to the top of every situation. Paul started as a prisoner, but in a short time, the crew, captain, soldiers, and the Roman centurion were taking orders from him. Paul’s life wasn’t always easy. In fact, it was very difficult. But he never seemed to let things get him down.
A lot of times when a storm comes, when a crisis hits, we want out. We want an airlift out of our problems. But many times God’s will is that we learn through the midst of the storm.
Paul wrote in Romans, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? . . . No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (8:35, 37 NKJV).
Notice that Paul used the phrase “all these things.” He didn’t say “some of these things.” In all these things, we have overwhelming victory through Jesus Christ.
Learn more about Pastor Greg: Bio
Originally published at WND.com
Wondering where to turn in uncertain times? Find hope by downloading Pastor Greg’s free ebook, Getting Through the Storms of Life.