When I was growing up, one of my most favorite movies was Swiss Family Robinson. There were so many things in that movie that young boys and girls could find entertaining. Adventure, romance, pirates, animals. It was a amazing movie. And it was rated G!!! But the coolest thing in the movie, by far, at least for me, was their tree house!
That house was the most amazing thing I had ever seen (at age 8). There was nothing I wanted more than to have a tree house exactly like the one in the movie. They had all the comforts of home, albeit extremely simplified. They were living in paradise. And in the end (spoiler alert) the mom and the dad decided to stay on the island, even though rescuers offered them a ride back to civilization. They had found their version of heaven, right here on earth. It was a wonderful family movie.
But if one remembers back to the beginning of the movie, things did not start out so well. There was an incredible storm and their entire family was shipwrecked on that remote, tropical island. But in the end their entire family weathered the storm, made it to the island, and lived happily ever after.
If you have your Bibles handy I'd like you to turn to the next to the last chapter in the Book of Acts (27). You can go here to read it. Verses 13-44.
The Apostle Paul was a prisoner of the Roman Empire. He was being transported to Rome on a ship. Their journey started off well with "a gentle south wind." But then things changed and the "gentle wind" turned into a massive hurricane. Things got worse in a hurry. Not good.
They had a lifeboat but couldn't make it secure (v16). They tied ropes around the ship to keep it from falling apart (v 17). They began to throw cargo overboard (v18). On the THIRD DAY (interesting) they threw more stuff overboard in an effort to save themselves (v19). They didn't see the sun or the stars for several days. All these things occurred to the point where they gave up any hope of being saved (v20).
Then something happened. Paul stood up and spoke.
"Men, you should have taken my advice . . . I urge you to keep up your courage." (v21)
"So keep up your courage man, for I have faith in God (v25). What amazing advice!
When we undergo a trial or are facing hardship, we must turn to God in our time of need. When everything is falling apart around us we could try to fix things ourselves. We could throw everything overboard . . . like our relationships. We could turn to other means of trying to fix things ourselves via drugs or alcohol or . . . you name it. But our rescue from what ever circumstance we find ourselves in is NOT FROM OURSELVES. It is from God.
The words of Paul and words that might as well have been spoken by God into our lives. "You should have listened to Me." Have we turned to God with our latest struggle? With our biggest problems? We need to listen to Jesus speaking into our lives through the Holy Scriptures. We need to find comfort in the Words spoken by God through the prophets. We need to heed the advice of the angels. Every time they were about to speak they always began their oratory with tremendous words of advice. "Fear not."
It may be hard to follow that command from the deck of a ship in trouble or from a hospital bed with a bunch of tubes stuck in you. But we have been commanded not to fear. And truly, through Christ, how can we EVER really be afraid.
When we are facing a "shipwreck" in our lives we need to listen to God's Word. He does not wish that ANYONE should perish but that we would have eternal life through Jesus. If we give HIM control over the "ship" that is our lives, we can weather even the mightiest of storm . . .
"When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach" (v39).