“Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers: ‘If these men do not stay on the ship, you cannot be saved'” (Acts 27:31).
When you experience problems, difficulties, or hurts in life, they can either make you better or make you bitter. You really do have a choice. You can grow or give up. You can become who God wants you to be, or you can become hard-hearted.
When you go through difficult times, what happens to you is not as important as what happens in you. You will carry your character with you into eternity, not your circumstances. How you respond to the injustice of life is up to you. That is why you want to decide now what you will do.
Acts 27 teaches three responses to avoid in trials, and from them we can learn how God wants us to respond:
- Do not deviate; Stay focused. “The ship was caught in the storm and could not steer against the wind; so we gave way to it and were carried away” (Acts 27:15). The ship carrying Paul and other prisoners to Rome was in the middle of the Mediterranean and had not seen the sun for 14 days. They could not orient themselves and began to drift.
When some people face difficulties, they start wandering through life. They have no goal, purpose, ambition or dream. Today we call this “navigation”. The problem with coasting is that it only slides when heading downhill. Life is not a coast; life is hard Don’t lose your ambition or your dream when life gets tough.
- Do not discard; wait. “We received such a strong onslaught from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard” (Acts 27:18). The men in charge needed to lighten the ship, so they threw the cargo overboard, followed by the tackle and food. Because the storm was so overwhelming, they were throwing away the things they needed.
When you find yourself in a storm and the stress becomes unbearable, you can start to let go of values and relationships. Some things are worth leaving; sinful thoughts, words and deeds!
But God says, “Keep the boat!” God uses difficult situations to change people. It is rarely God’s will for you to run away from a difficult situation. God wants you to learn, grow and develop, and he is there with you all the time.
- Don’t despair; Hope in god. “We finally gave up all hope of being saved” (Acts 27:20). After 14 days and after delivering their cargo, tackle and food, the passengers finally gave up hope. But they had forgotten one thing: even in a storm, God is in control. He has not left you.
Lord, let me always remember Your promises and know the peace You give when life becomes hard. I thank You for the many blessings You provide, and I hold fast to Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.