Sunday, July 3, 2016



Three times in Ephesians chapter 6 the Apostle Paul encourages us to “stand firm” and also to “be strong” and to “persevere.” It's so easy to lose our bearings and to “lose heart” (let our emotions run wild) when we are in the midst of a storm. (Galatians 6:9). God doesn't promise smooth sailing on calm seas while navigating our lives on earth. We need to stay the course faithfully.

We can't always avoid the wind and the waves. We must go through the storms and endure until they pass by. The medical news may not always be positive. The skill of doctors has limitations. Our prayers for our health are not always answered in the way we would wish. Inevitably our human bodies, our “earth suits,” become disordered and grow weaker instead of stronger as we age. God can heal us but He doesn't always do so. We may inevitably need to be healed from the need to be healed. We don't see the big eternal picture that God has destined for us. We must simply trust that “[Heavenly] Father knows best” and is working out the perfect plans for our lives, although it may not seem so perfect to us while we are on the earth side.

One thing is sure: we are not alone in the storm. Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) Like the disciples in the sudden violent storm who were gripped with fear for their lives, we overlook the fact that Jesus is in the boat with us. We may panic because He isn't doing anything about our dilemma—just sleeping. He stilled the waves and calmed the storm in due time in His own way. Psalm 12:6-8 assures us that we should never be shaken, that our heart should be steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Then our heart will be upheld and we will not fear evil tidings.

The Psalmist gives us a vivid description of a horrendous storm in Psalm 107. We could become seasick just reading it. I call it the wits' end psalm. We all have wits' end experiences. But it ends well. “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet; so He guided them to their desired haven.”

Another violent gale which the Apostle Paul described blow by blow in a you are there fashion in Acts 27. He used the word for what we call a nor'easter. The disabled ship was tossed about for 15 days until all hope was lost for the crew and passengers of soldiers and prisoners. Paul was one of the prisoners being transported to Rome for trial. God gave Paul a vision and a promise that all their lives would be saved, but the ship would be totaled. He told them all to keep up their courage, not to be afraid, that he believed God. “And they all were brought safely to land.”

Our human, mortal “ship” will one day also be “totaled” (there are no exceptions!) but our soul, our “space suit,” will be brought safely to the haven of Heaven. Jesus promised, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” And JESUS IS A PROMISE KEEPER.

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