I have spent the last week diving deep into Acts looking at what the first church looked like. There are a million possible blogs about this but tonight as I read Chapter 27 and the first part of Chapter 28 I came across something that is so applicable that I couldn't wait. The Word of God never ceases to amaze me, and to be candid I struggle with how anyone can sit down and read it with an open mind and not be radically changed by it. While it was written so long ago it is so easy to see that God was in total control of these people's lives and that He knew that the experiences that these people were going through and would subsequently record would be applicable until His return.
If you look in Acts 27 Paul has been put on a boat to go to Rome to appear before Caesar. As the boat sails along it is quite apparent that they have more obstacle filled days rather than smooth sailing days. I don't know about you but there are many periods in my life where it feels like I am in choppy waters way more than smooth water. What is so promising and hopeful about this passage in Acts 27 and the first part of 28 is it gives us a real life example of what tends to happen in our lives. Here these guys are just trying to get to Rome and yet every day it seems like something gets in their way. They are facing winds going in the wrong direction and just basic challenges, and then the storm hits. They run a shore. However, they meet some folks on this island that could use a little miracle. Turns out the head of this island's father was sick and in bed with dysentery. Now I don't know if you know what dysentery is like, and I pray none of you have experienced it but I would bet its like prepping for a colonoscopy but the same result out of both ends; and non stop. In this time period this would have no doubt killed him. However, Paul was able to pray over him in the name of Christ and heal him. After seeing this man healed many came to be healed as well.
It is easy to parallel this with our own lives. How many times in our own lives do we think we are coasting along and everything is peachy. We have our destination picked out, and everything is going great. Maybe its the "perfect job" or the "perfect house", or whatever it may be. Maybe its just that you are an all American kid who is good at sports and presents a religion image. We tend to get in the mind set that we have it all figured out. Then all of a sudden the wind starts to blow a little harder. We go off course a little bit, or a lot. What tends to happen though is that when the wind blows us off of our course it is actually blowing us closer to God's course. If we ignore this direction and continually try to correct back to our course the wind will get stronger. Maybe we start to make more wrong decisions, or make wrong decisions that have a much greater impact on our lives. If we continue to fight to stay on our course then God will throw the full blown storm our way. When that tends to happen we have to just let go and see what happens, and usually the first step is wreckage. We hit the shore of God's island that it breaks us into pieces. We realize how bad we need Jesus. Then, as we begin to follow God's course we realize that the storms we went through were just bringing us to the point where God can the most glory for what he has done in his life. When we are able to take the circumstances we faced and share our experiences with those circumstances to people facing the same challenge it is apparent that God blew us off course to become a part of His story/His miracle. At the same time, as our lives change it tends to draw others in to Him as well. Just as when Paul healed the man, when people see how Christ heals our sickness of sin they want to be healed as well.
At the end of the day as scary as it feels we have to just let go of that big steering wheel of the boat. And trust fully that God has a better course than we do, and while it may be painful in this world we should face life as Paul did:
24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me —the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.