"For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, 'Don't be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What's more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.' So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island."
I don't know about you but when I think of the words 'goodness' and 'safety' I don't automatically think of standing trial before Caesar and getting shipwrecked. God promised Paul that he would survive the tumultuous journey he was sailing on, everyone would make it through the storms and he would arrive at his destination. Paul believed God because he KNEW God. Oh and by the way you will be shipwrecked.
When I think of promises of goodness and safety, I envision calm waters and peaceful roads not violent storms and a smashed ship.
But isn't that only describing the circumstances of life and not the character of our Lord? He IS calm and peaceful no matter our circumstances. We find rest in Him alone.
Acts 27:20 says, "The terrible storm raged unabated for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone." Verses 18 and 19 in the same chapter tells of how the crew started throwing cargo and the ship's equipment overboard. Verse 21 says, "No one had eaten for a long time."
And yet Paul believed God. He relied on His promises and found peace in the storm.
I have two feet on dry ground today. My cargo is boxed up in towering boxes all around me. I am getting ready to eat breakfast when I am done posting this. I saw the sun peek through the clouds just yesterday and expect it to make a return appearance today. My hope is not gone.
Today I choose to keep my eyes on Jesus. Not because I can find peace in knowing my circumstances are no where near as bad as Paul's were. He was living through a real storm and was promised a future that included being shipwrecked. No, my peace is in Jesus today because I KNOW the same God. I believe Him and his promises no matter my circumstances today or what is coming in my future.
I went to a few churches that sang hymns as a child. As an adult I have come to appreciate the words from those old songs so much more. The first few lines of the song below came to mind as I close here. "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness." When I looked up the rest of the lyrics, it was even sweeter. Enjoy!
- My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
- On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
In Him, my righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.