“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
God’s Holy Spirit comes alongside you to grow your faith when you encounter difficulties on the journey toward your dream. These difficulties are tests, giving you a chance to follow God’s guidance.
In Acts 27, Paul set sail for Rome along with other prisoners on a journey with many difficulties. On one leg of the voyage, Paul warned the crew that if they continued to sail, they would be caught in a major storm and the results would be disastrous. The crew decided to sail anyway.
To avoid the mistakes the crew made — and faithfully follow God instead — here are three things to remember when you’re facing difficulties:
- Follow God, not others’ opinions. On Paul’s journey, “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). Because the “expert” said it was okay, the centurion ignored a warning from God and agreed to head back out to sea.
- If God tells you to do one thing and all the experts in the world tell you to do something else, listen to what God says. His voice is the only one that counts. Follow God, not the majority. On Paul’s ship, “the majority decided that [they] should sail on” (Acts 27:12). The harbor where Paul’s ship had taken refuge was exposed and not a good choice for spending the winter, and so the majority on board wanted to sail on. But the majority is often wrong!
- Peer pressure often keeps people from doing what God wants them to do. Remember that God is a majority of one.
Follow God, not your circumstances. “When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed … Before very long, a wind of hurricane force … swept down from the island” (Acts 27:13-14). Paul warned the others that they were heading into a storm, but they sailed anyway.
Just because you’re given an opportunity, it doesn’t mean you have to take it. You shouldn’t accept every job you’re offered or date everybody who asks you out. Satan can arrange circumstances too! You need to ask God for his direction.
No matter what difficult circumstances you face in life, you can remain faithful by listening to what God says, remembering his voice is the only one that counts, and following his guidance.
Lord, strengthen my faith to follow You when you talk to me. Guide me on the path You want me to follow, and grant me Your wisdom to see when I’m being taken another way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.