1/13/2014 12:00:00 PM
In our Sunday-morning services at World Harvest Church, I’ve been referencing Paul’s journey to Rome, which Luke records in the
27th and 28th chapters of Acts. Paul joined that voyage as a prisoner. After three trials in Caesarea on charges of defiling the
temple of Jerusalem (each trial found Paul unworthy of death, but his release would have caused a riot), Paul asserted his right
as a Roman citizen for a trial in Rome.
The voyage had reached a port called Fair Havens off the coast of Crete near the end of the sailing season. It was nearly time to
put the ship in a port and spend the winter somewhere, but there was economic pressure to keep sailing rather than pay the crew for
four months of idleness (and to leave the cargo unsold for that amount of time). So the captain, in a stunning lack of leadership,
put the safety of his crew up to a vote. He ultimately sent the ship out again – for a nicer port, named Phoenix, about 40 miles
down the coast. Apparently nobody wanted to spend the winter in Fair Havens.
Paul warned that the decision would have dire consequences – and sure enough, soon hurricane-force winds took the crew on a
journey of a lifetime. The conditions forced them to jettison the cargo and their equipment and tools, essentially committing
the ship to going wherever the wind would take it.
For the next two weeks, the crew and prisoners on the ship must have had a harrowing experience. Ultimately Paul – the lowest man
on the totem pole when the voyage began – stood up to give a word to his impromptu congregation. God had assured Paul that he would
stand before Caesar, and that everyone on board would survive the trip with him. The ship, on the other hand, would be a total
loss. That’s the message Paul gave the men aboard the ship – men who just a few weeks earlier wouldn’t have given a political
prisoner the time of day.
I’ve long said in another context that people matter, more than anything else. And so it was on that ship in the Mediterranean Sea.
The severe winds could have blown that boat all over the place. Instead, it went on more or less a straight line toward a cove on
the island of Malta, just south of Sicily. That supernatural course kept Paul on track to make it to Rome. And when the ship had
served that purpose, the waves broke it apart. The crew and prisoners swam ashore or floated in on parts of the wreckage.
We’ve had our share of storms here at the ministry over the past several years. More than once I was told we would have to shut
our doors because of the storm we were currently in. But the storm didn’t have anything to do with the Word that God gave me!
We’ve endured all of the storms that the enemy has offered up, and we’re still here, doing what God intends for us to do. I’m
glad of that, as are the staff who have stayed with me and the people whose lives we have been able to impact for the sake of
the Gospel because we stuck around.
How about you? I understand that the storm you’re in may be formidable enough to get you to think about giving up. But hear me:
the storm doesn’t have anything to do with your purpose, other than that you will glorify Him by having endured it. Stay in the
storm, and He will break off you what needs to be broken off so that you can continue. Your future will remain intact – I’ve been
in similar situations and I know it’s so.
I am confident that if you ride out the storm you’re currently in, you can do nothing less and nothing other than transform into
the man or women God needs to make Him known and loved in your spheres of influence.
I am convinced that if you do three things for God in 2014, He will do great things for you and in you and through you! Here’s
what you need to do:
- Make God your first and sole priority throughout the year.
- Have one purpose, seeking Him in the Word and in prayer on a daily basis.
- Determine that you will have only one provider, Jehovah Jireh.
If you do those things, my conviction is that God will:
- Give you a day when everything changes.
- Cause you to meet a person who can favor you in such a way that everything changes.
- Provide a notable miracle in your life – one that causes not only you, but everyone around you, to take notice and realize
that only God could have provided it.
Luke didn’t put it in these terms, but there is no doubt in my mind that Paul’s journey to Rome transformed not only him, but
everyone around him. Look around you. Are you willing to stay in the storm you’re in, so that you and everyone around you can be
transformed as well?