Jump Ship or Stay the Course
July 10, 2022 - This morning during my quiet time, I finished up the book of Acts with the story of Paul on a ship with a group of sailors who were literally caught between a rock and a hard place. Jump ship and drown or be crushed on the rocks. Neither of those 2 options looked "promising".
In the story, an angel appeared to Paul and told him not to be afraid because he was destined to stand trial before Caesar. I LOVE the way the Passion Translation says what happened next, and what Paul conveyed to the sailors and other passengers that were traveling with him:
"Because of God's favor on you (Paul), he has given you the lives of everyone who is sailing with you. So men, keep up your courage! I know that God will protect you, just as he told me that he would. But, we must run aground on some island to be saved." Acts 27:24-26 TPT
I started thinking about this passage and God spoke to my heart and pointed out 2 things. (1) He told me that ALL of us are "traveling" with people that he has specifically placed into our lives whether it is family, co workers, school friends, church family etc. While we are "traveling" together thru this life, we are to be spiritual influencers to those we come in contact with on a daily basis. We are to reflect Jesus to them. We are to be distinctly different, not "just having a form of godliness". In the Passion Translation it says, "They pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality they want nothing to do with God's power. Stay away from people like that". II Timothy 3:5 TPT
Everyone on board that ship knew that Paul was different and was willing to obey, though at times they wanted to "jump ship". They listened to Paul and obeyed, because they knew that he was different and they trusted him because of the life he led before them while traveling together. Because of Paul's own obedience to God, God found favor with him and those he was traveling with. Can we say that about ourselves? Are we living a life reflective of Jesus to those we are traveling with in this life? Are we so different from the world that those same people in our sphere of influence would be willing to listen to what we have to say? Would God find favor with us AND them? Something to ponder for sure.
(2) The other phrase in this passage of scripture that spoke to me was found in the last part of verse 26 (Acts 27:26) which reads: "But we must run aground on some island to be saved". Think about that. I don't think any of us like the thought of "running aground". Running aground implies that possible disaster is on the horizon. Someone may get hurt. Something may not turn out like you had hoped, death and disease may enter the picture etc, etc. Personally, that one phrase doesn't conjure up good feelings for sure.
However, in order for Christ to truly lead us and for Him to be able to use us in his kingdom, we must ALL run aground. We must ALL lay down our pride, our ambitions, our way of doing things, our fears, anxieties, our money, our savings, politics etc. As individuals and as a nation, if we do not surrender to God and repent, the outcome of "running aground" is not going to be a good one. In order to be saved, we have to run aground. Hit a brick wall. Whatever you want to call it. It is imperative that all of us acknowledge our own sin and admit that we can no longer pretend to be something, that we are clearly not.
When we surrender and do things God's way, we can trust in the character of who God says He is, and be assured that he will take care of us in the midst of the storm. Think about it.