This is the last post in our “Road Trip” series of the summer. I’m sorry I’ve been less consistent than I planned. Thanks for your grace! I’d love to hear about your summer road trips – physical, or spiritual – and what you’ve learned!
A few weeks ago I sat in seat 19C waiting to take off when the pilot came on over the P.A.
He said, “For those of you on the left side of the plane, if you’ve looked out your window you may have noticed part of the wing is missing. Don’t worry. we know about it.”
What the what??
“We’ve made adjustments.” he added, seemingly as an afterthought.
Well okey dokey then! I’m putting my life in your hands Mr. Voice on the P.A., but if you – a person I’ve never met before in my entire life, a person whose age, credentials, and performance record are unknown to me, says you’ve “made adjustments” for the absence of a major part of equipment that is necessary to get us off the ground and safely to our destination, I’ll just trust you. No sweat.
You can’t make this stuff up.
This experience on a plane (yes, we took off and landed without incident) made me think of Paul’s experience on a “road trip” that is actually a “boat trip”.
In Acts 27, Luke writes of being taken with Paul by boat as a prisoner, to Rome. They get behind on their schedule and winter is coming. Paul warns the guy in charge, that they shouldn’t continue because the weather will be disastrous, but his captors ignore him and they sail.
13-15 When a gentle southerly breeze came up, they weighed anchor, thinking it would be smooth sailing. But they were no sooner out to sea than a gale-force wind, the infamous nor’easter, struck. They lost all control of the ship. It was a cork in the storm…
18-20 Next day, out on the high seas again and badly damaged now by the storm, we dumped the cargo overboard. The third day the sailors lightened the ship further by throwing off all the tackle and provisions. It had been many days since we had seen either sun or stars. Wind and waves were battering us unmercifully, and we lost all hope of rescue.
I know this feeling of losing “all control of the ship”.
I felt out of control on the plane.
I felt out of control when our daughter got sick in the slums of Nairobi, thousands of miles away from us.
I felt out of control when I was told I couldn’t have a job I wanted.
I felt out of control when my brother died.
You? Where do you feel out of control? In what area of life have you “lost all hope of rescue”?
21-22 With our appetite for both food and life long gone, Paul took his place in our midst and said, “Friends, you really should have listened to me back in Crete (Read: “I told you so”). We could have avoided all this trouble and trial. But there’s no need to dwell on that now. From now on, things are looking up! I can assure you that there’ll not be a single drowning among us, although I can’t say as much for the ship—the ship itself is doomed.
23-26 “Last night God’s angel stood at my side, an angel of this God I serve, saying to me, ‘Don’t give up, Paul. You’re going to stand before Caesar yet—and everyone sailing with you is also going to make it.’ So, dear friends, take heart. I believe God will do exactly what he told me. But we’re going to shipwreck on some island or other.”
I love the phrase “stood at my side” because it reminds me that we have a 360 degree God. He goes behind, before, and beside us! He’s not limited by time or space. (Ps. 139:5)
And the bottom line? God doesn’t need a boat to rescue you. He walked on water. If your hope is in the boat, when the boat goes down, your hope goes down.
On my trip, my hope couldn’t be in our defective plane. Instead I had to trust the pilot, and well…God.
Our hope isn’t in the boat. Our hope is in the One who made the wind and the waves.
The storm continues, but…
33-34 With dawn about to break, Paul called everyone together and proposed breakfast: “This is the fourteenth day we’ve gone without food. None of us has felt like eating! But I urge you to eat something now. You’ll need strength for the rescue ahead. You’re going to come out of this without even a scratch!”
35-38 He broke the bread, gave thanks to God, passed it around, and they all ate heartily—276 of us, all told! With the meal finished and everyone full, the ship was further lightened by dumping the grain overboard…
44 Everyone made it to shore safely.
Do I want to do my best to make sure my boat is strong and safe? Absolutely. That’s just wise and responsible. But what are the signs that I’m trusting the boat more than the Maker?
- When I am so busy “doing” – taking care of boat maintenance that I can’t take time to be still and rest or thank God.
- When I fret instead of pray.
- When I act quickly on what I can see, instead of asking God what I might be missing.
So, this morning I’m delighted to be put in my place as a passenger, remembering what God asked Job:
Have you ever given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place? Job 38:12
Nope. But I’m trying to trust the One who does.
Have you had an experience of God reassuring you when you felt overwhelmed by the storms battering you and out of control?