Sunday, August 9, 2015

Pause in The Storm

Scripture Texts: Acts 27:27-44; Psalm 59

Put yourself on that ship with Paul and all the people. You are out to sea and a storm comes up. This is harrowing enough but it does not relent for over fourteen days. That's right, over 14 days in the midst of the storm. It is getting so dangerous some of the sailors think it would be safer to get off the big boat and be in the lifeboats.

During the storm the crew is doing everything humanly possible to weather the storm. Putting out anchors so they do not move too fast. Lightening the ship so they sit higher in the water. They were even ready to kill the prisoners in transport so they would not escape. The list of prisoners included Paul who seems to be at complete peace in the storm.

Before this section of the account ends we find the ship run aground and the waves beginning to rip the boat apart. It is easy to get the sense that Paul is sitting back, calmly taking it all in. Everything seems to be going just as Paul thought it would.

It is safe to say most of us would not be like Paul in this moment. We would be freaking out and functioning more like the sailors. In the midst of all the craziness of the storm, Paul is not only calm but has them eat a meal together so they will have continued strength for what is ahead. Not only had they been in the midst of the storm for fourteen days, their ordeal was not over yet.

Regardless the storm, we want the duration to be short, and when it is not short we tend to grow restless with God. It is easy to think God needs us to engage the rescue and to take on the storm. To be sure we have to be ready to do our part, yet it is God who is the one at work in the storm. Paul was able to keep focused on God and what God was doing more than what the wind and the waves were doing. It is easy to be more focused on the waves than on God. It is easy, but it will not get us through the storm like staying focused on God.

If we pay attention to most of the Disney Princess movies marriage turns out to be happily ever after. We are given the image of the married couple ridding off into the sunset with a life that will from that day forward be perfect, nothing but smooth sailing. Anyone who has been married for any length of time knows there are storms to weather in marriage. Some of the storms are from outside, others are from within. Either way, we all have storms and we all want them to end as soon as possible.

Storms will come and go in our lives with us having little control over their appearance or duration. What we do have control over is what we do in the midst of the storm. Do we exhaust every human possibility, or do we turn to God? To cultivate a healthy marriage we cannot let a storm take our focus off God. Further we cannot let the storm have us grabbing lifeboats and getting off the ship of marriage.

Often we need to stop, gather our strength and prepare to head into the storm. We must be ready to face the days head on being prepared to crash against the rocks. In fact the sailors planned to hit the rocks, they only hit them earlier than planned. The moment of pause around the dinner table made all the difference in how they moved forward, it will make all the difference in how you face the storms that show up in your life and marriage.

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