Bro. Daniel Jordan preached for us in the mrning service this past Sunday. He took his text from Acts 27. The account is of the time that Paul, as a prisoner, was sailing to Italy. The trip was dangerous and Paul admonished those he was with that he feared for their lives. However, the centurion listened to others instead of Paul and they continued on. In the end, the ship could not stand up against the winds and storm, and as they headed to land it run aground. The centurion commanded that those that could swim cast themselves into the sea, and swim to land. And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship made their way to land until they were all safe. (Mind you, this a very condensed version of this chapter, just to give you the background).
Bro. Jordan's message was on making it through the storms when they are not our fault. He talked about the storms that come into our life through decisions other's make, or because of illness, etc. Situations that are not of our making and we can do nothing about, but yet we must deal with the consequences of those things. They affect our lives. The hurt us, physically or emotionally. These storms batter us and toss us about. They change us. We do what's right, but we can't change the situation no matter how much we may want to. Many times we're not sure how to handle it. Just like Paul had to deal with the decision the centurion made in sailing on, even though Paul advised against it and feared for their lives, we have to ride out these storms.
What really stuck out of this message was when he got to the part about the people making it to land. The last part of verse 33 & verse 34 says that the centurion " commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land."
Bro. Jordan talked about how some people make it through the storms still strong and able to swim to shore. But others have a harder time. They have to cling to the boards and broken pieces, the shattered pieces, and float on in. I know that many of our church are going through these type of storms. Storms that are not their fault. I watch and I see the strength that some have, able to keep right on. I admire that strength. Others I see, are hanging on with all their might, but they are making it.
There are several of these storms in my own life right now. They are raging all about me. My heart is heavy. I'm tired. I want to be one of those that are strong and swim right on in. But I can feel the waves breaking over me, and sometimes I struggle to keep from going under, to keep my head above water. I am clinging to those boards, for all I'm worth, as I cry out to the Father for help. Sometimes, I feel myself slipping and I struggle for a better grasp. I am floating in on His grace and mercy. I want to make it safely to the other side. But I know, even in the journey, I'll be changed. Things will never be the same again. For you don't come through the storms without looking at things differently. I pray that that change will be a positive one, so that when the next storm comes, I'll be stronger. Able to swim, instead of clinging to the pieces.
I know that all things work together for good!