Get out of the Boat

July 27, 2016

 

It's a stormy world; let's get out of the boat.

 

Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me…And now I urge you to take heart…I believe God…”

-        Acts 27.21, 22, 25

Lord, since we are perishing, rise up in the shipwreck of this world at night. Give me, Lord, your hand, when the frail boat was almost sunk, stretched out to Peter.

  - The Prayers of Moucan, Irish, 8th-9th century[1]

The world is being battered by stormy seas – terrorism, economic uncertainty, war, political strife, natural disasters, disease, poverty, destitution, and more. Many are heading to the lifeboats, determined to save themselves no matter what. Others huddle in fear in their state rooms, hoping for the best. A growing number of people are frustrated, angry, and threatening, looking for someone to throw overboard.

Meanwhile, the officers and crew are frantically consulting charts, battening hatches, keeping their eyes on dials and switches, steering with all their might, and looking for someone to blame.

And the storm does not abate, but grows more fierce. It rages in darkness and howling, threatening winds, and the frail vessels of the economies, cultures, communities, families, and political systems of the world are taking on water.

This is the time for believers to stand up and shout, “I told you so, you dummies!” Right?

Wrong.

At such times, when the world is threatened with so many dangers, God calls His people to stand up and walk above the storms. The story of Paul on the deck of that shattered ship is the “what-might-have-been” if Peter had kept his eyes on Jesus instead of looking at the winds and rising waters.

Paul is a study in faith and courage, but also in love, for even his enemies and captors. He believed in God and knew that he was in His hands; he had nothing to fear. He declared his faith and made bold to advise the pilot and crew concerning how to make the best of this mess they had created.

Isn’t this where we as believers should be as well? What the world needs today is not more finger-pointing and blame-laying. The peoples of the earth are desperate for some examples of courage, faith, hope, and love to guide and sustain them through the fearful storms.

Now is the time for the church to step out of the boat – not to abandon ship, but to walk upon, no, above the storms, eyes fixed squarely on Jesus, until, taking His hand, we find new power, new hope, new resolve, and a new voice to call the world to believe in God with us.

Anyone can complain and whine. Anyone can find someone else to blame. Anyone can fret and fear. Anyone can just hunker down like Jonah in the hold and try to wait it out.

But Christians are not just anyone. We are the wave-walkers. We are the deckmasters. We are the visionaries who know that God is always in charge, works all things according to the counsel of His will, does all things well, and causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

Your Personal Mission Field is a storm-tossed sea of uncertainty. Oh, sure, the people you see all the time smile and do their work and act like everything is just fine. But they feel the winds. Their footing is becoming increasingly unsteady. And they struggle each day to keep from giving in to anxiety, uncertainty, and fear.

Stand up in their midst. Acknowledge the common danger. Tell them you believe in God, and that He will provide. Let them see in you the kind of hope, confidence, courage, peace, and joy that can only come from beyond this world. Then counsel them by the Word of God to put their trust in Him.

If we will not walk out on the uncertain waves, and mount the rising storms of this world, we will miss the best opportunity of this generation to show the world the real power of the Gospel.

Someone storm-tossed needs to see the strength of the Lord today – in you.

Psalm 96.1-4, 8-10 (Mit Freuden Zart: “All Praise to God, Who Reigns Above”)
Sing to the Lord! O, bless His Name!
All nations tell His glory!
Salvation’s tidings loud proclaim;
Let earth rehears His story!
For God is greatly to be praised;
His throne above all gods is raised –
Fear him, and sing His glory!

Bring off’rings sweet to Him, our Lord,
In holy garments praise Him!
Tremble before Him, all the earth;
Among the nations raise Him!
The earth is fixed, it will not move;
The peoples will His justice prove –
Exalt the Lord and praise Him.

Use me, Lord, use me to encourage, comfort, console, edify, and evangelize as many as I might, that they may know the strength of Your love.
   

T. M. Moore, Principal
tmmoore@ailbe.org

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