Saving your life. Revelations from Paul’s journey in Acts 27
In the midst of a storm, the crew on the boat anchor. Then they cut the anchor and go with the storm. They begin to toss things. Anything they don’t need. If it’s heavy, if it’s burdensome, it gets tossed into the sea. Trying to save their own lives some want to secretly escape, probably all do but only some actually selfishly try. Then a truth is revealed. You will be saved, if you stay the course, if you stay on the ship with me your lives will be spared. So the few surrender the idea of making a quick dash on a life boat in torrential waters. What’s the next advice? But you have to eat. I’ve seen you, you’ve been starving for days, fasting and you can’t keep going like that. There’s challenge ahead and you have to fill yourself back up on the sustenance of this bread. And after they fill with the bread, they feel better. Then they toss the grain into the sea. The last thing they would rely on falls to the bottom of the ocean. Nothing left but them, and the promise they stand on. The ship is going to wreck, that’s inevitable. It’s going to hit the land they need to climb on. Some can swim, some can’t, everything they know to be holding them up will be gone. And they have to let go of it in order to survive. The moment comes, the wind and waves toss them from side to side and the ship hits sandbar after sand bar, crumbling. Men swim to safety, others hold on to planks of wood and float to shore, praying. They arrive alive. More sure, of what they never quite understood until now. God is real. Everything else doesn’t matter. It is with relentless trust and letting go of the superfluous that leads you to real life. And in the end, they were better for it.
Are you in a storm? Are you riding on a ship you aren’t sure if it’s going to get you where you want to go? Are you looking for safety and assurance? I wonder as life tosses us storm after storm if we all are loaded down with things that are too heavy. Things we were never meant to carry on our ship. Are the ropes of comparison tangling you? Cut them off. Social media sucking away your time? Delete the apps. Are you trying to get away on a life boat thinking only of yourself? Stop, consider those around you. Maybe someone else does not know how to swim. Throw them a life preserver and pull them into your life. Are the mundane tasks of your day leaving you empty? Throw that heavy bag into the sea and pick up something a little lighter, something that brings you joy. Think about what brings you lightness of spirit, and do it. Loneliness plaguing your heart? Step into the sun my friend, there are so many of us out here trying to do life…we are on the same crew…we might as well float to shore together. Perhaps, you’ve been toiling on an empty stomach. Maybe…you are over worked, over tired, exhausted and burning the candle at both ends. For you…it might be time to eat the bread. Grab a chair at the table, the food is plentiful, perhaps its some Sabbath rest and refilling you need. A little self care can go a long way when you are in the midst of the wind and waves. Running on our own strength always leaves us depleted. Can you drink from the well of living water and lay it at His feet? Whatever is too much, too heavy, and weighing you down we can drop it at the gown of Jesus. He says my yoke is easy and my burden is light. What we were never meant to carry, He can. He can handle it, better than we can. He can and will send you aid. And He WANTS To. Whatever you can’t let go of that is weighing you down, ask for help. Sometimes it’s a simple prayer, God I can’t give this up, help me to get out from under it. It’s so important to lighten our load. To practice forgiveness from a long ago hurt. Not allow things that have bogged you down to have a say anymore. We really don’t have room for our negativity on our ships my friends. For our heavy hearts to get to shore we must practice putting down the heavy. Toss them over the ships side. Let’s pick up love and grace and let it buoy our spirits. For our trip here is not long, and there is a lot for us to enjoy on the island. I believe that’s what awaits us…more joy. I see them in the palm trees of a care free heart, I feel it on the sand of feet that have walked toward freedom, and with each crash of wave I hear our Father call out…all who are weary come to me…and I will give you rest.