In the last chapters of the book of Acts Paul and his companions find themselves on their way to Rome after an appeal from Paul to Caesar. Paul is in chains and is escorted by a centurion, and to further complicate things…
There’s a storm a brewin’.
Here’s what starts to happen:
“When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; 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.”
To give you some backstory, there was no room, typically, for the lifeboat on board a ship, so it was towed behind the ship. When the wind started to drive the boat and gained control of the ship they scrambled to save their life boat from being crushed by the ship, because it was their “hope” for salvation in case the ship wrecked.
When I read this, well, I read it again. Then I thought, “What is my life boat?”
For years and years my security has been in my finances. My identity was defined by my ability to pay bills and buy what I wanted when I wanted it. I even foolishly said (several years ago) that if God would never mess with my check book I would be just fine. I could handle anything except financial trials. Want to guess what happened?
You bet, Refiner’s fire!
Over the next few years (and still some now) Caleb and I, me especially, learned some very hard lessons on where our security should lie: not my pocketbook, not my husband, not my house, not my car, not my kids, not their behavior or performance, not my extended family, not my pride, not my weight, not my vanity, and not even in maintaining the appearance that everything is fine when it is absolutely not.
Our Lord brought me to my knees in the areas which I was weakest, breaking me so that He could be glorified, so that I could decrease and He could increase. His refiner’s fire tested us and drove us a step closer to holiness. Those tough lessons and trials in the fire caused me to, well, first repent, and turn toward Him for guidance, and find rest in Him for my security. He has showed me how to lay down my pride at the foot of His cross (something I still have problems with), accept grace, and by all means gave me a healthy dose of humility. Does this make me perfect? Of course not, it actually makes me realize I have so much more left to learn, but it brings me one step closer to the goal to which I have been called in Christ!
I’m asking myself today, what is my new life boat, have I picked up another material object to cling to? Do you have a life boat, some earthy thing you are holding to desperately for security? I want to challenge you today to surrender that “life boat” to Christ. Trade in the “life boat” for the “Eternal Life Boat” and see how He blesses you through it!
Love you all!