I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8
Lately I have been thinking deeply and meditating hard on how to conduct myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually while waiting patiently and faithfully on the Lord to deliver through on a promise made. Last night my pastor touched briefly on Paul's ordeal during the shipwreck and how even though things didn't look so good, Paul held on and firmly relayed the message delivered by the angel, that all would be safe. Everyone on the ship believed him and felt safe in Pauls words of encouragement. Then my pastor's wife made a comment that hit me like a ton of bricks, she said " Paul believed in God's word, and so the people believed in him, but then the ship wrecked and tore apart" What do you do when the storm tears up your ship before you are brought to safety? Good question.
Now we all know how the story ends, the ship wrecks yet they are all saved, the people on the island treated them well, Paul healed the sick, and fast forward three months later they set sail again with donated support from the locals. Now did God keep his promise to Paul? Yes it's very obvious. But if you rewind back to the passage where the soldiers on the ship tried to save their lives by lowering the life boats and Paul tells them "no one will be saved unless we all stay on the ship" You will see that this is when the battle between confidence in God and human reasoning to save oneself because there is no good end in sight originates.
Imagine being in this situation, someone has told you that they were told by an angel that everyone will be fine, so you assume the storm is going to let up, and all will be fine. But soon after that the storm gets worse, you see no good ending in sight, so you do what comes natural, you try to save yourself from the storm and hope for the best. During the midst of the worse of the storm as you are trying not to drown you're told , no one will make it unless we stay on this ship. While on this ship that is being battered by a horrible storm, you have a decision to make in that split second. You can trust what you have been told and ride it out or, you can jump ship and try to save yourself forgetting about the promise for your safety that was hand delivered by an angel of God to a minister of God. Not only that, but even when you trust him and stay on the boat, it still wrecks and breaks in little pieces, now you are stranded. Where is the promise of safety? Who is going to rescue you? You can't turn around and go back, YOU HAVE NO BOAT!
I have been here many times, and many times my faith fails in this one single area. God has promised me something, given me his word to stand on, I claim it, hide it in my heart and patiently wait, then things don't ever seem as if its getting better, it starts to get worse then I question my faith. I question if I am really going to get out of this situation? I start doubting myself and my relationship with God, I start to wonder did I pray amiss? Did I really hear God on this? Did I find this scripture myself to support what I want or did God really reveal it to me? Am I deceived? Am I still in God's will? I could go on and on with the things that run through my mind.
But after reading this story and really, I mean really stewing in meditation, it really registered
that even though we go through things in this life, and God promises to deliver us, or to make us stronger, or that we need to just wait on him, that things can actually get worse for us before they get better. It doesn't mean that God has forsaken us, or forgotten us, or that we didn't receive a promise from him. He's testing us. He is testing us to see if we will get off the boat that is about to crash into a million pieces in the middle of nowhere during one of the most fiercest storms of the season. That says a lot right there. It shows us where we are in our faith, where we are in our human reasoning, where we are in our trust. Think about how powerful Paul's testimony had to be, not only did they trust him as he trusted God, but even after they wrecked, the soldiers wanted to kill all the prisoners for fear of escape, but because of the favor given to Paul, it didn't happen.
There will be people around us who only look at our outward circumstances, they only see us as a prisoner who may try and escape, but God can give us favor with those who can save our lives and the lives of those just like us. People may never understand, empathize, sympathize or even care about us. They may just want to cast us aside and write us off. But it is our trusting in God through the most difficult of storms, shipwrecks, and castaways that gets us through.
It's hiding his promise in our hearts when the pregnancy test comes out negative again and you know he has promised you a child, or when the husband neglects you yet another time but you know God promised you a marriage after his heart, when you have trusted in him for financial blessings that are direly needed, but the main breadwinner becomes un-employed, the mortgage is in foreclosure, the baby won't feed from the "free milk" and you now need formula that costs the same as a utility bill. Through all of this, God is trying to see how close you are to him, how well do you know his voice, how fast will you look for a way out of your own, and how loud you cry to everyone but him during your time of distress.
I don't know about you, but I am in the process of tearing apart all my little lifeboats. I am asking God to help me keep a calm piece during the midst of my storms, and to know that while storms don't last always, they certainly can become more tempestuous before they end. I want to have the same peace as Jesus, when He and the disciples were also on a ship during a bad storm and during the storm Jesus was asleep. I don't want to be like the disciples running around frantic and frustrated waking Jesus up out of his slumber to quiet a storm that only requires me to have the faith as His to ride it out in deep, peaceful sleep.
Stay Blessed and Encouraged.
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