For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
SURVIVING THE STORMS REQUIRES ME TO BE AWARE THAT…
1. MY SAILING WILL NOT BE SMOOTH.
Because God uses difficulty to exhibit my devotion.
Because God uses difficulty to enhance my development.
Awareness allows for preparedness.
2. GODLY LEADERSHIP WILL BE ESSENTIAL
Godly leaders provide the instruction I need.
So Paul warned them. “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.”
Acts 27:9b, 10 (NIV)
But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.
Acts 27:11 (NIV)
Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest. When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor [b] and let the ship be driven along. We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
Acts 27:12-20 (NIV)
Godly leaders provide the correction I need.
After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.
NOTE: If I won’t listen, God can’t protect me.
Godly leaders provide the encouragement I need.
But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” … “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. Altogether there were 276 of us on board. When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.
Acts 27:22-25; 33-38 (NIV)
NOTE: The more storms that are faced, the more leaders are required.
3. FAITHFUL FRIENDS ENABLE SURVIVAL AND SANITY
That night the Master appeared to Paul: “It’s going to be all right. Everything is going to turn out for the best. You’ve been a good witness for me here in Jerusalem. Now you’re going to be my witness in Rome!”
Acts 23:11 (MP)
The next day the Jews worked up a plot against Paul …. Paul’s nephew, his sister’s son, overheard them plotting the ambush. He went immediately to the barracks and told Paul.
Acts 23:12, 16 (MP)
As soon as it was decided that we should sail away to Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were put in charge of a centurion named Julius, of the emperor’s own regiment. We embarked on a ship hailing from Adramyttium, bound for the Asian ports, and set sail. Among our company was Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica.
Acts 27:1-2 Phillips
…when we arrived in Macedonia, our bodies had no ease or rest, but we were oppressed in every way and afflicted at every turn—fighting and contentions without, dread and fears within. But God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us by the arrival of Titus.
2 Corinthians 7:5, 6 (AMPC)
So Joshua and his men went out to fight the army of Amalek. Meanwhile Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. And as long as Moses held up the rod in his hands, Israel was winning; but whenever he rested his arms at his sides, the soldiers of Amalek were winning. Moses’ arms finally became too tired to hold up the rod any longer; so Aaron and Hur rolled a stone for him to sit on, and they stood on each side, holding up his hands until sunset. As a result, Joshua and his troops crushed the army of Amalek, putting them to the sword.
Exodus 17:10-13 (TLB)