Acts 27:25-26 (MSG) “So, dear friends, take heart. I believe God will do exactly what He told me. But we’re going to shipwreck on some island or other.”
I laughed out loud when I read this verse. My first thought was, man, I wish I knew this verse going into 2020.
Paul is on a ship with soldiers, fellow prisoners, and crewmates traveling overseas through merciless weather. He stands in the midst of these hungry, weary, and hopeless men and gives them comforting and confronting news. First, he comforts them with the promise of arrival; they will survive and get to their destination. Second, he confronts them with the reality of the storm ahead; it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Paul is not being pessimistic when he says they’re going to shipwreck. He’s unwaveringly confident. He’s saying this ship can get caught in a storm, hit a rock, break apart - oh, and it probably will - but God will deliver on His promise!! We have to remember that God’s sovereignty over a situation doesn’t mean there will not be difficulties. His promise does mean there will be peace.
In Psalms 84:5-6 (NKJV) it says “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring.” Notice how the Psalmist doesn’t say “The one whose strength is in you will avoid the Valley of Mourning,” but says they’ll pass through it, and not only that but they will make it a spring of life flowing with water.
When our strength is in Jesus, things can go from bad to worse yet we will make it through. Where we see a valley of sorrow and unrest, God sees an opportunity for renewal! I don’t want the word of my testimony to be of what valleys God let me avoid, but what valleys He brought me through. Last year knocked a lot of us off our feet. I feel like some of us are now going into this year with reservations and hesitancy; like there’s an intruder in our house and we’ve got our bat in hand, cautiously turning the corners expecting the worst. Hesitancy is a logical approach, but it’s not one of faith.
Surrender your fears, allow God to enter into that space of unrest in your heart. Let His perfect love renew your sense of security. Don’t let the hardships of the past paralyze your hope for the future. God is with you. God is for you.
God, I am secure in you, no matter what happened in 2020 and what awaits in 2021. You are faithful. I put my trust in you alone, and know my strength is in you - the God who turns valleys of mourning into springs of life! May I face the future without fear. Amen.
Song: There In The Middle by Harvest, Jon Thurlow