Paul set sail for Rome in Acts 27. The Holy Spirit and others had warned him that the conclusion of his earthly ministry, and his life, were at hand.
Still, he pressed on.
In fact, this particular storm—much like a nor’easter—raged out of control and brought experienced sailors to the brink of despair. They had already thrown the tackle and the cargo overboard. The writer of Acts concluded that everyone had lost any hope of being saved (see Acts 27:20).
Surely you’ve been at a place where life or ministry has worn you down. The constant pressure has stripped you of any fight; the little courage you mustered has left the room; and now, you’re looking for the first door that will open.
Any door will do. And therein lies the problem—”any door.” It’s the place that the enemy of our souls likes to get us: a place where any option will do. Somehow at times like this, we instinctively know that such an escape might relieve the immediate pain, but it also has the potential to leave a much bigger wake.
But we’re desperate.
Debbie and I faced a season like this early in our ministry. I took the first option. I announced my resignation and accepted a new ministry position that would get us “out of Dodge.” The problem was that God had not opened this door. But in the heat of the moment, anything seemed better than where we were—at least, I thought so at the moment.
God spoke to me so clearly that this was not His will. He had been mostly silent until that point. I had to repent and was afforded grace and mercy to back out of a commitment that was quite public. The willingness to admit wrong and make the adjustment laid a foundation for the rest of our ministry decisions.
Courage isn’t always grabbing the sword and being the first one to charge up the hill. Andy Stanley recently said three things about courage that I’d like to share with you:
- Courage is staying when it would be easier to go (Joseph, Mary’s fiancé).
- Courage is going when it would be easier to stay (Abraham).
- Courage is asking for help when it would be easier to go it alone (Hezekiah).
Paul got a revelation while on his way to Rome aboard that ship. He strongly proclaimed that everyone on the ship would be saved, “if they stayed with the ship” (see v. 31). The crew cut loose the lifeboats, just in case anyone didn’t believe that Paul had received this revelation from the Lord. Every life was spared because they resisted their fears and obeyed the direction of the Lord.
The real enemy we all face is fear in the face of adversity. Such fear will always point us in the wrong direction. Why shouldn’t it? Lucifer is the father of lies, so we should expect those seeds to be planted.
Resist giving in to your fears. Those defining moments or tipping points will determine whether your life is lived in a constant state of turmoil or whether you will reverse course and discover God’s peace and will for your life.
What we really need is a revelation. ” ‘Ask, and God will give to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will open for you,’ ” (Matt. 7:7, NCV).
By: Glenn Burris Jr., president of The Foursquare Church
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