Fear or faith? 215, May 3, 2020

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day

- Acts 27:29


I think Luke has captured here how we all feel at times. Incidents come upon us and we have tried absolutely everything to no avail. We have cast out all four anchors but nothing is working, and all we can do is wish for the day — a time soon when we can see more clearly and navigate through the fear-raising trouble.  


This was the ship incident with Paul, where the seas were out of control and so was the ship. Life was going to be a shipwreck. It appeared all those aboard would drown. In fact, it was so bad they had to let the ship run its course instead of steering toward their destination and had tossed overboard everything that added weight to the trouble. Such was their fear-driven desperation, the crewmen were going prefer the much smaller lifeboat as their saviour rather than the ship. 


Have you ever felt like that? Where incidents in your life are so bad it didn't matter what you did or how cunning you tried to steer your life out of it, you were simply at the mercy of the incident and its circumstances, where it appears that all hope is lost?  


As we read this story in Acts 27 and think about how trustworthy we would be in that situation, we realise it’s not hard to lose all control. We find that we could even toss our Godly control overboard as the fear takes a tighter grip, driving us to react in all sorts of ungodly ways. IN GOD WE TRUST? “Not now, I’m going to die,” we yell in breath-gripping panic. 


Casting one anchor out was insufficient for this incident; they needed four of them and yet this runaway ship still wasn't stopping. Paul had told his minders earlier in the harbour not to proceed with the journey at that time, but they used their human wisdom, defied God at that stage, and found themselves in a lot of trouble.  


What do you do when these frightening events come upon your life? Does panic set in when you can’t see the shore for the waves? Does your faith automatically minimise — seem to shrink —  in these times?oth, they now believed he'd spoken to an angel. How bizarre! Likewise, we don't always take heed of Godly wisdom when there is no apparent threat but will believe any snippet when out of control.


 Through this life-threatening voyage, Paul was the only person to keep his wits and faith in God. I am presuming Luke, a newer convert, looking to Paul for trust, tried also to keep his head.  


What do you do when frightening events come upon your life? Does panic set in when you can’t see the shore for the waves? Does your faith automatically minimise — seem to shrink —  in these times?


As we know from the Jesus boat story in Luke 8:22-25, though Christ was asleep in the boat when the disciples were in fear, He was still in command of those things which brought the fear. Whether they feared or didn't fear they were still safe. It was only their view that was the difference.


In our current story, we see the Lord had His hand on it all the way through. The crew still had to do all that was humanly possible to work their way through the problem, but faith was necessary as well as their human endeavours. It is exactly the same as us.


Today’s prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for seeing me through so many tempests in life. Looking back, I see your hand, but in the waves and the fears which come i find it hard to see any shoreline. Please help me with my vision through the typhoons and squalls to acknowledge that you are in charge of everything you choose and are sovereign over my life. 

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