WHEN YOU ARE THE ONLY CHRISTIAN IN THE BOAT
Sometimes in life you will find yourself the only light in a dark environment; the only Christian among a group of unbelievers. Such a situation confronted Apostle Paul on his journey to Rome. In Acts of the Apostles 27:5-44 Paul had an experience of a life time; God in the midst of your troubles. Paul and certain other prisoners where to be escorted to Rome to stand trial before Caesar; Julius the centurion was in charge of the prisoners.
The ship master and the owner of the ship trusted in his experience as a sailor to determine the weather conditions and best time to set sail but he did not have the Lord; read verse 11-12 of the same chapter. On the other hand in verse 10, Paul said unto the people, sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless, the centurion believed the master and owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. In life we often find ourselves in similar situations where very experienced people or experts in different fields are in charge of affairs that concern us; they may not consider or accept our points of view and the consequences can be disastrous and yet vindicating if we hold on to the Lord. Today, different experts, psychologists, motivational speakers, medical doctors sometimes want to determine our existence and we believe them; even when they are unsure. We need to follow the word of the Lord on an issue after faithfully praying over them. No matter what happens always hold to the word of the Lord to you in a dream, vision or from the Bible concerning any condition you find yourself. Experts do not know the future but the Lord knows as evidenced by Paul’s situation on the ship on the way to Rome.
In verse 13, the south wind blew softly (sometimes circumstances around you become so comfortable and cooperative that it seems as if God is in this calmness but beneath is really the devil waiting to strike) supposing they have obtained their purpose (some time we lean on false hopes, information and assumptions, not knowing that death is determined), loosing thence (leaning on false confidence, denying or not listening to the word of God) they sailed close by Crete. In the journey of life many fake things come our way, some we religiously hold to without revelation, wisdom or word of knowledge from the Lord. There are always experts who want to chart our lives; some think they have ministries to certain groups of people; some are gurus to other people. The question is who is the light in this dark situation?
Paul the apostle was in a situation which most of us often find ourselves. The difference was Paul had a closer walk with the Lord unlike many of us today who look up to experts or motivational speakers or gurus to come to our rescue. Paul knew where he was going, he had a good idea what the Lord had for him; do you have an idea of where the Lord is leading you to? In verse 10, by the power of revelation Paul knew that the journey from Crete was going to be dangerous to live and property, but was not an expert in marine time. Too often many Christians listen more to experts instead of the Lord, even in life and death situations like Paul’s situation in the sea on the way to Rome, where God already promised him to stand before Caesar. Every Christian needs to keep stock of their revelations from the Lord because they are not for fancy and you never know when they will serve as a point of reference.
In Acts of Apostle 25:11, Paul said, I appeal unto Caesar while in Caesarea before Festus the governor. A believer in Jesus Christ does not utter words for nothing, standing before Caesar was in Paul’s future. Paul like any of us gets into desperate and hopeless situations where death was on every side of one’s life. The storms of life can be devastating and life could be lost. In verse 15, it reads when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. Yes, Paul was caught in this situation, like some of us are caught in right now, but Paul was confident in the Lord, some of us lose our confidence in such circumstances. In verse18, it reads and we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest,( like the economic, financial, political, religious climatic uncertainties of today) the next day they lightened the ship. Some of the merchants in the ship with Paul had their life savings in the merchandise they had on the ship, like some of us find ourselves in a mess where all our merchandise are in danger, in the ship of life. Sometimes the tempest of life strikes fear into us but for the believer we hold to the revelations and testimonies of the Lord. They lightened the ship by throwing out their important merchandise they once held dear to. Remember that when the storms of life come on and the devil fights at you ; do not forget the revelations and the confidence of the Lord. The unbelievers throw their belongings over board to lighten the ship, but Paul had nothing to throw over board. He did not carry things that will wear him down; he was travelling light, trusted in the Lord, had REVELATIONS and knew in whom he trusted.
And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away, reads verse 20. Sometimes we are faced with where all hope is lost like in Paul’s situation. Have you ever being in such a situation, where all hope is lost, may be in doctor’s office, hospital bed, court room, prison cell, economic down turn, bad marriage, destructive addictions etc; such are the ship of life, and storms can come suddenly. In such times, where is your confidence and what revelations are you leaning on?
In Acts of the Apostles 27:21-25 Paul encouraged all who were in the ship with him. Paul was the light in this dark ship and sea. Paul was the believer in the ship. Paul was visited by the angel of the Lord at night with a word from the Lord; (PAUL SAID FOR THERE STOOD BY ME THIS NIGHT THE ANGEL OF GOD, WHOSE I AM, AND WHOM I SERVE, SAYING , FEAR NOT, PAUL; THOU MUST BE BROUGHT BEFORE CAESAR: AND LO, GOD HATH GIVEN THEE ALL THEM THAT SAIL WITH THEE). Only the Lord can help you in the storms of life.
Yes, Paul was a believer, like many of us; he was confronted by the devil so is every believer. The Lord did not take Paul away from the situation but saw him through it; so is the case with every believer. The Lord will see you through your dark moments in the ship of life, the storms will blow, it may seem calm at times but fear may be present, losses may occur, you may lighten your ship, or travel light but the most important fact is to know the Lord. The REVELATIONS contained in the word of the Lord are what you need in the stormy sea bearing the ship of life. You need the angle of God to visit you night or day and to give you a word from the Lord.
The word of the Lord to you in your dark night, in your stormy ship must match the word of God. The Lord knows that in life we have to go through many things, some are problems we create for ourselves, some caused by Satan, some by circumstances. The Lord sees our plight, feels our pain but allows us to go through them. These situations make us to trust in the Lord. He may not deliver you but He will be with you all the way. When they arrived the shores at Malta everything was lost, but no life was lost. Sometimes when you go through difficult times and all hope is lost a little ray of sunlight covered by cloud of hope comes to strengthen you; like Paul swimming or floating to the shore on broken pieces of the ship.
When you see the little cloud covering the sunlight, it is a matter of time and the full sunlight will appear. Under the cloud many things happen, there is hope, expectation and relief but the devil in most cases is hiding to attack one more time. When you are blessed by the Lord or the Lord is standing by you, Satan is generally upset and wants to blackmail you. Look at Paul, fourteen days in the deep, Acts 27:27; escaped death verse 42, hunger, maybe he could not swim. Remember the human factor in all of us, some of us have faith for big things like fighting a lion but fearful of rats or spiders. Paul got through all these to land on the shore like most of us going through rough times. There was calm, peace and joy of surviving then the devil strikes. In Paul’s case a viper fastened to the hand of Paul and everyone expected him to die. Imagining, surviving the shipwreck and falling into the fangs of a viper. The devil wanted to destroy Paul but he was to stand before Caesar as promised him by the Lord.
Always keep the testimonies and revelations of the Lord before you because you are going to need them in these last days. St. Paul remembered the word of the Lord to him about surviving the storm and standing before Caesar and that evaporates the poisons of the viper and takes the threat out of the storm of life. The Lord will not stop the storms and vipers of life but He will see us through like He did Paul the Apostle. Confidence in Christ Jesus brings heart rest. Trust the revelations and testimonies of the Lord. Seek the Lord and He will give you your own testimonies and revelations to fall back on when the storms of life blow by.
By Douglas E. Amobi