When tumultuous times come our way and it feels like there is no way to escape the dangers ahead of you, it is easy to be overcome with sadness and a desire to just give up. However, in the most difficult of times, it is much better to call upon God for guidance. In doing this, His peace will fall upon us and our minds will be at ease. He does this in order to lift our burdens, that they may become light. Even our anxiety is flipped upside down until we are filled with gladness. This might seem like a foreign thing to do for some, but those that have been through hard times and have trusted in Jesus Christ, they will tell you that it helped more than anything else. You see, when we trust in ourselves and others over God, the joy we attain is only temporary. Then sorrow creeps in and we are back to feeling sad once again. Therefore, it is important to find the peace and comfort that lasts. Everybody wants a life like this, however, people are looking in all the wrong places. No medication can heal the soul. No therapy can instill eternal peace into our lives. Only God can take us in our current circumstances and start working in our lives immediately. God will help us endure the hardships we are in, and make them more than just bearable, for His peace and comfort will help carry us with joy. Now, for those that God delivers from these circumstances, it is on Him to do so. We simply put our trusted in Him and seek Him in prayer, and He is then able to do the rest, even to the point of breaking the chains that we are in. In both situations, God is able to use us for His glory.
Speaking of someone that God was still able to use during the most difficult of times was Paul, the apostle. In Acts 27, he was being delivered on a large boat, by soldiers, to Rome. He was there prisoner and was awaiting his final sentence to be passed down upon him there. He knew that God was to deliver him to this place, no matter what lied ahead of him. And while at sea, the winds were very strong and boisterous, even to the point of sinking the boat and killing the people. However, he did not fear, and instead, continued to seek God, though his life and other’s lives were at stake. This is what happened next in his own words, 1“there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.” it was in this moment that he was so happy and told the crew members and soldiers what he saw. He then said, 1“I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.” He was then able to encourage them and break bread with them. In giving thanks to God, the hard times was overcome with gladness. If we but put our trust in the Lord and continue to look to Him in faith, in the good and the bad times, His presence would never leave us.
Let us pray:
Lord God, I know that You are so good to us, even in the good and bad times. As long as our hearts are willing to seek You, You are there for us in a big way. Only through You, can the hardest of times feel peaceful and at ease. Where there was anxiety and fear, You come in and replace all those thoughts with glad tidings of great joy. We may not see it in the moment but soon we will have much to be grateful. And not only this Lord, You are able to help us stay positive and to uplift others that are down and depressed. With Your presence, we are able to look outside ourselves and see who we can uplift and comfort also. Your thoughts of visiting a person in jail, a person that just lost a loved one, a person that just lost a job, a person that is struggling financially, and others, will come to our minds. These visits are what delivers the peace people need. Thank You for reminding us about others that are also in need. Not only when we love one another are these people uplifted, but our souls are also and our faith is elevated. I know this to be true, since I recently lost a job and with my friends coming over and praying for me, this is what lifted me out of my sorrows. For I know You were there and sent them. Thank You God. Now I am at peace and there is great joy in my heart. I know that my future is bright, because of Your hand in my life. I am so grateful and give You all the praise. I say these things in Your holy Name, Jesus. Amen.
Let us read the Bible:
Note: Any Numbered References, found above, are listed below.
1Acts 27 (KJV)
1 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band.
2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.
3 And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself.
4 And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.
6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.
7 And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone;
8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.
9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.
11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.
12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.
13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.
14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.
15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.
16 And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat:
17 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.
18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship;
19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.
20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.
23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.
27 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;
28 And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms.
29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.
30 And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship,
31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.
32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.
33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.
34 Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.
35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.
36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.
37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.
38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.
39 And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.
40 And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.
41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.
42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.
43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land:
44 And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.