“For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense”.Acts 27:33 The Message
Here in the Midlands, Elim churches are currently meeting at 9am and 6pm to pray. We are praying for much-needed guidance in these different times. This morning we were reminded of a situation that the Apostle Paul found himself in.
He was in the midst of an ocean with a raging storm and no one was sure whether they would survive or not. Those on board the ship had certain facts. They were in a storm. It had been 14 days and they had thrown their cargo overboard but yet they did not know what the future held. Would they survive?
What they needed was guidance. What was the best possible action they could take to try and make it back to dry land? Fortunately for those sailors on the ship, the apostle Paul (who was also on the ship as a prisoner) received guidance from God himself. In a miraculous event, God spoke to Paul assuring him that all the lives on board that ship would be saved. Paul now could speak to the sailors and assure them all would be well.
The reason I tell you this account is to continue with what we said yesterday about guidance. Remember thousands of years before the apostle Paul was born King Solomon had given some wise advice and guidance.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.Proverbs 3: 5-6 The Message
The apostle Paul was kept on track because of God’s wisdom. The soldiers, in fact, were going to kill all the prisoners as the ship began to sink and break apart. Fortunately for Paul, the Roman commander told the soldiers not to kill the prisoners because he believed Paul had received guidance from God. The outcome was although the ship was lost everybody made it to the shore. Paul did not try to figure out everything on his own. Paul relied on God.
We are in exactly the same situation, not 14 days, but 4 months. Our storms are different from Paul’s but nevertheless real for we do not know what the future holds. We need to be encouraged that as individuals and as a nation we can come through this storm if we don’t try to work it out on our own but seek God’s wisdom. That is what the three days of praying and fasting is about here in the Midlands region. Coming out of lockdown is only the beginning. The logistics of how we operate will be a challenging one and all the more necessary to seek guidance. For churches at present nothing is certain on how we will operate if given that opportunity. What we do need though is to be ready.
We finished yesterday on a word called Trust. The vital ingredient if you are going to take someone’s word. There is another word vital to us in this guidance area and that word is Faith. Let me end with an illustration.
For example, I go to a doctor whose name I cannot pronounce or remember and whose degrees or certificate I never ask to see. Nevertheless, I believe they are able to treat me. The doctor gives me a prescription which I cannot read. I take it to a pharmacist who I have never met. They give me a chemical compound I do not understand. I then go home and take the pill according to the instructions on the bottle, often sadly without reading the side effects. Taking the tablets is an act of faith.
If you want to find God’s will, you first have to put your trust in God. In your heart, you have to answer the question. “Is God trustworthy?” Are you willing to let God guide your life? The Apostle Paul on board that ship did that and found God to be reliable when he acted out the guidance God had given him. Trust must be proved by Faith in action.
Apparently, at 5pm every day a politician, NHS advisor and the scientist (panelist) tell us about how on track we are in regarding the virus, deaths, lockdown restrictions etc. Although that is very helpful and needed the best we can do is to put our trust and faith in God by asking Him to give us direction daily for our lives. He will definitely keep us on track.