4 “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
Acts 27:25,26 (NIV)
Has your faith ever shipwrecked? Has your hope ever been dashed? Has your courage ever drowned? Any of these things can happen to any of us. The Sea of Life sure has its tempests.
It looked that way for the apostle Paul and 236 other men in the story recorded in Acts 27. The Adriatic had gotten to them rather unexpectedly. Billows rolled. Seas swelled. Danger and death loomed large like a pair of unstoppable forces on a playing field.
All the men were overwhelmed, save one: Paul. He spoke life to his trembling shipmates. Let’s note what he said. It saved the day. And there’s benefit in his life-giving words for us too.
FAITH IN GOD: Surprisingly, Paul did not preach having GREAT FAITH in God. Neither did any other of His prophets or apostles. Neither did Jesus (Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:6). They all preached having simple faith in a GREAT GOD.
Faith is built on the greatness of God, not the greatness of one’s faith.
IT WILL HAPPEN: God brings inevitability to life. Therefore, God brings hope. He is not slack concerning His promises (1 Kings 8:56; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Peter 3:9). What He says He will do. It will happen.
He doesn’t always say when or where, but it is inevitable. His batting average is way more than All-Star good. So we have hope. (Take a good drink of Psalm 46 and let it fill you up.) That hope keeps our head above water amidst the great sea of hopelessness in which we all swim.
JUST AS HE TOLD ME: Faith and hope are built best on God’s Word, what He’s already said. That’s the Bible. So read it. Know it. And listen to the whispers of His Spirit. Tune in to all that He says. There’s a lot, more than we think. That’s the recipe!
NEVERTHELESS: The presence of real hope and faith doesn’t dispel danger. Difficulty lives on; other opponents await. We could run aground at any point. Faith and hope simply help us face the rough stuff. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
KEEP UP YOUR COURAGE: God gives us continual reasons for faith and hope. It’s His Son. It’s His Word. It’s His Spirit within. This restocks our courage to keep going, to confront evil and injustice in and around us, to tackle our fears without and fears within. God wants our lives marked by continual acts of courage .. .for Him and through Him.
These words speak life to me! Do they lift you too? I pray so.
Reflect: How can your faith and hope be built up today? What words of life do you need to speak to yourself, to others? Where do you need courage in life today?
A prayer to consider: Father, I look to You for faith, hope and courage building. Thank You for Your Son, Your Word and Your Spirit which bring them to me so well.
Help me to speak life to myself and others! I know that these are the messages that keep us from drowning.