Day 9 p. 87-102
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
Few people faced the overwhelming difficulties that Paul encountered in life. From persecutor of Christians to becoming a follower of the Way himself, Paul experienced radical transformation. Throughout these pages, you will read about raging crowds, mocking religious leaders, and imprisonment.
When Paul was approved to appeal before Caesar, he set sail onboard a ship under the authority of Julius, who was a centurion. Paul warned the crew that the voyage was to be disastrous and that it would bring great loss to ship and cargo if they continued the course. The centurion did not listen to Paul, who was under the leading of God, but instead listened to the pilot of the ship. How often do we seek advice from worldly experts instead of seeking THE creator of the world? When faced with a difficult situation, seek God first, then Godly council second.
The majority had decided by voting that they should sail on, despite Paul’s warning. Don’t let your decision making be based on what the crowd is doing. Many times, the majority is wrong! Have you ever heard someone say, “Everybody’s doing it?" Peer pressure keeps a lot of people from doing what God desires of their lives, and inevitably gets them into trouble.
When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted. Don’t rely on circumstances! You should not walk through every open door that becomes available. God had already spoken through Paul warning them of the impending storm, but they followed the advice of the pilot and saw what they thought was their perfect opportunity to sail on. Ultimately, the ship, cargo, and tackle would all be destroyed.
Whether we make poor choices or just become caught in the middle of other’s poor choices, like Paul was, we can trust that God is with us in the storm. It is important to determine the cause of our difficulties. Is what I am going through of my own doing? Was I forced into the situation by others, as in Paul’s case? If it’s a result of sin, call upon God and ask for forgiveness. Seek to rebuild broken trusts and relationships that were damaged because of your sin. It really doesn’t matter where the problem came from or what the source was. God has a purpose and He wants you to grow in it. God’s purpose is greater than your problems and pain.
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5:1-5
Everything was falling apart in the storm, except Paul. Paul’s hope was in God, not the ship, not the centurion, not the pilot or crew. His focus remained on the Creator instead of the circumstances. What or who are you placing your hope in?
About The Author
Allyson Gann is wife to Nathan Gann, and mother to two precious children, Adison and Andrew. She enjoys cooking, homeschooling, and all things outdoors. She and her family live on a farm with their three dogs and broody hens. Allyson is grateful for the family of believers she has found in Oakland Heights Baptist Church.