Belong, Bow Down, & Believe

“Told you so!” That’s not quite what Paul said, but kinda. “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss” (Acts 27:21).

But they wanted to get to Italy. And so they sailed when they shouldn’t have. And the gentle breeze from the south soon becomes a “tempestuous wind” from who knows what direction. A typhoon swirling about them, seemingly coming at them from all sides. And the ship is suddenly in a storm through which it cannot navigate. In fact, it can barely hold itself together (27:13-19). As the hurricane force winds rage about them, and the sea bucks uncontrollably below them, “all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned” (27:20).

Maybe not the best time to say, “I told you so.”

Unless, of course, it wasn’t to rub more salt in already saltwater infested wounds, but to establish credibility for something else Paul was about to say.

“Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.”

(Acts 27:22-25 ESV)

Take heart, Paul said, we’re gonna get through this. And it’s because my God has said so. The One to whom I belong. The One to whom I bow down. The One in whom I believe.

The Lord had revealed to Paul that Paul would testify of the gospel in Rome (Acts 23:11). God’s purpose had been established. And no bonehead decision, even the decision to take a chance and sail when safe sailing season had passed, would derail the purposes of God. And, in the storm, Paul was visited on the ship by an angel of the Lord and reminded of his calling. And Paul would confidently stand before men fearing for their lives and encourage them to take heart. Because Paul belonged, bowed down, and believed.

And this morning I find in Paul’s confidence my confidence.

I belong to the God who is equally sovereign over calm seas as well as hurricane force winds. I am His. Purchased with the blood of His Son. Sealed as a child of God, a joint heir with Christ, by His Spirit. And nothing “in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).

I bow down to the God who is worthy of honor and glory in all circumstance. Worshiped not only in the good times, but also in the not so good times as He his promises are sure, founded on His holy and unchanging nature. Worshiped for who He is, Jehovah. Worshiped for what He has done, having given His Son that I might be delivered from bondage. Having given His Son that I might be dressed in the Son’s righteousness. Having given His Son that a place might be prepared for me in His presence. He told Paul, “You’re going to Rome.” He’s told me, “One day, you’re coming home!”

And I believe in the God who has given the promise. What He has said, He will do (1Thess. 5:24). The work that He has begun, He will finish (Php. 1:6).

“For I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.”

Sometimes it takes a storm to hear again His voice. Sometimes it takes an out of control world–one that seemingly is bent on overwhelming us, one in which we find ourselves bailing for all we’re worth–to know afresh that we are forever His. Sometimes, its what’s going on around us that drives us to our knees in humble worship. It’s then that we often cry, “I believe, help my unbelief!”

And we hear His voice, “I told you so. Fear not!”

By His grace . . . for His glory.

Note:  I likely won’t be posting over the next couple of days as we’ll be on a bit of road trip.

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