Tears streamed down my face as I sat in my Jeep parked outside my college dorm. My car was the one place on campus that offered complete privacy–no one to hear me cry. Well, no one except my mom, who was on the phone with me listening to my hurt and offering advice as only mothers know how.
In between hiccuping sobs, I heard my mom gently, wisely say, “I know it’s hard, but stay faithful.”
My mother’s advice in my moment of pain and frustration was the greatest I’ve received, but she was not the first to give similar counsel to someone in distress. Acts 27 records Paul’s assurance to sailors who were quite literally experiencing the storms of life.
At this time, Paul was a prisoner sailing to Rome to plead his case before Caesar when an ominous storm began brewing in the horizon. Even the most weathered sailors feared for their lives, but not Paul. He served as the voice of comfort to the despairing shipmates.
“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).
Paul was not a sailor. He had much less sailing experience than the other men on board, but he had experienced the all-powerful God who calms storms and tames seas.
The tempest raged on for 14 more days. God had guaranteed rescue, but they still had to wait for His deliverance. On the fourteenth day, when the men were ready to give up and jump ship, the Lord renewed His promise. Paul reminded the sailors, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved” (Acts 27: 31).
The only way they would be saved from the storm was if they trusted God and stayed on the ship.
The only way you will be saved from your storm is if you trust God and stay on the ship.
Too many Christians give up on God and walk away from their faith. “Serving God is too hard,” they say. I’m grieved to hear more and more stories of people I know and love turning away from Christ to live what the world tells them is a life of ease and happiness but ultimately leads to destruction.
To those Christians who are wavering in their faith, going through severe trials, or wondering if devotion to God is worth it, I want to encourage you with this advice from my mother and from Paul: stay faithful.
Faithful in Temptation
Satan is relentless. He constantly roams the earth looking for ways to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8). He is our scheming enemy who knows well the weaknesses of his foes and who loves to discourage us when we fail. In moments of temptation, claim 1 Corinthians 10:13. God will not allow you to be tempted without providing an escape. If you fall, repent, strengthen your reliance on Him, then combat discouragement by remembering that His faithfulness to us is not based on our faithfulness to Him (Amen, hallelujah!).
Faithful in Trials
Life is rough. Adversity is inevitable. The woes of this world frequently bog us down. Because of this, James wrote, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). One day the King will place crowns on the heads of the servants who persisted in following Him. Until that day, He renews their strength (Isaiah 40:31) and carries their burdens (Psalm 55:22).
Faithful in Waiting
Jesus told a parable in Luke 18 about a persistent widow who daily asked a judge for retribution of an adversary. This judge did not fear God or care for others, yet he granted her request more out of annoyance than a desire for justice. After telling the parable, Jesus continued, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:7-8). As God’s elect, we can repeatedly bring requests to our God who, unlike the unjust judge, wants to bless us and enact justice on our behalf. When He does, will He find you faithfully waiting?
Faithful in Devotion
Have you ever grudgingly wondered why nonbelievers seem to have so much fun but you daily struggle in following Christ? You may question, “Is this worth the hassle?” Asaph, the writer of Psalm 73, wondered the same thing. Verses 1-17 reveal Asaph’s jealousy of the wicked. To him, they seemed to be happy and prosperous, but the Lord opened his eyes to the reality of their fate. “For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me, it is good to be near God” (Psalm 73: 27-28). The wicked will perish; the devoted will endure.
Giving up is almost celebrated in this era where you’re supposed to “do whatever makes you feel happy,” and faithfulness is an archaic concept. Despite the world’s pressure to turn away from Christ, stay faithful. The Lord’s promise to Paul in Acts 27 remains true for you today. Stay on the ship; He will lead you safely to shore.