Eye of the Storm
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Paul’s testimony serves as a power-filled illustration of how disciples of Christ can weather a storm. His anchor was in the realm of heaven, not the ship, its provisions, or crew. Though he was in chains, he was not bound, even to the reality of his circumstances. Imagine what it was like to be with him on that ship:
But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty. When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven. And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day we threw the ship's tackle overboard with our own hands. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.
But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.” Therefore, take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.” Acts 27:14–26
Storms can be the vehicle God uses to reveal the hindrances and attachments that are weighing us down and preventing us from completing the mission He has planned for our lives. Storms will come. Both in the natural and the spiritual, there will be storms. They are a byproduct of the clash of spiritual kingdoms that manifest in our natural circumstances every day. But the storm warrior keeps his eyes on the goal. Here are some “quick tips” in this story that help us stay focused.
Go with the Flow
When the tempestuous headwind arose, the little ship could not make headway. So the crew “let her drive.” There will be times that you may feel as though you are being tossed about or even blown off course. Yet the response when circumstances are beyond your control might be to go with the flow.
It is better to let the storm “carry you” rather than wearing yourself out struggling mentally or emotionally against every new difficulty. Sometimes the devil’s trick is to keep you so stirred up over the threat of opposition you wear yourself out without a fight! Paul was able to rest in the assurance that he served a heavenly Father who works all things together for his good. Before the ship was ever driven by the storm, Paul had already exhibited the peace and attitude of a storm warrior. When the captain of the ship did not heed his instruction but put out to sea heading for certain destruction Paul settled in for the bad weather considering that God would get him to the destination in spite of it.
Keep Your Personal Disciplines
Paul kept his faith vital. His life of discipline sharpened his spiritual discernment, and because of it he was able to give practical recommendations to the men who ran the ship. A storm warrior should be established in regular spiritual disciplines. A sudden test does not preclude them. In fact they are best developed in advance of testing. They include fasting, worship, prayer and regular fellowship with believers. Abstinence from food was one of Paul’s regular spiritual disciplines; this storm did not circumvent it.
On this day of corporate fasting, Lord, we declare the mighty, awesome power of the name of Jesus. You are our shield and very great reward. You are the God who answers us in the day of trouble. We exalt Your name, Jehovah Rapha, over sickness and infirmity. We exalt Your name, Jehovah Shalom, over fear and anxiety. We exalt Your name, Jehovah Jireh, over economic shaking. We exalt Your name, Jehovah Nissi, over our nation, city, and loved ones. Like Jehoshaphat of old, we cry out to you: “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’ …we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:6-9). Lord, we call on your name and ask for supernatural intervention in this battle. Lord, send help from the sanctuary. Reverse the tide of infection and stop the plague. Give wisdom and direction of governments, health officials, and researchers. Send healing and comfort to those who are sick. Turn the heart of our nation back to you and heal our land. Amen.
We are asking all Watchmen to join with us in Raise the Shield! Wield the Sword! Corporate Fast, a day of fasting and prayer today. We encourage you to participate in any way that you can to lift up our eyes to heaven and pray for God’s intervention, deliverance, and glory in this battle.
We are confident and covering you and yours. Send your prayer requests to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join us online for the Watch of the Lord, and see you ONLINE this Sunday at 10 a.m. We will continue on this journey with Apostle Paul here tomorrow!