"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

When Adversity Calls, How Do We Answer? (Acts 27)

"Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage..." (Acts 27:22)
Ever think about the similar situations that the Apostle Paul and the Prophet Jonah found themselves in while aboard ships in rough water? Ever think about how dissimilar their situations where? While teaching on Acts 27 today, Pastor Beaty provided this excellent example to demonstrate how enduring hardships and being where God wants us to be, will allow us to be an encourager to others and make an impact for Him.

Ultimately, both Paul and Jonah experienced a terrorizing storm at sea. But how did they get there?  For Jonah, we know from Jonah 1:3, that he "ran away from the Lord." God had a purpose for Jonah to speak against the city of Nineveh, but fearing for his life, Jonah "escaped" aboard this ship.  For Paul, Acts 9:15 tells us of God's plan for Paul to "carry (His) name before the Gentile people and their Kings." Despite the certain imprisonment and torture, Paul obeyed and was on his way to Rome to appeal his case before Caesar.  He was running "to" his Nineveh.

After the storms threatened to break apart the ships, see how the others responded.  To Jonah they say, "what have you done?" (Jonah 1:10).  They knew he was running away and his lack of faith had become a curse to the entire crew.  In Paul's case, he had gained an influence and authority over the situation.  In Acts 27:32-34, the crew does as Paul directs.  They see his great faith and turn to him during this time of crisis.  Paul had become a blessing on this ship.

There are so many great truths in this wonderful message.  Truths of drawing near to God during adversity rather than pulling away.  Truths regarding the type of encourager we are to be in times of crisis to those around us.  Truths of God's great encouragement for us during hardships.  Our prayer is that we are continually seeking God's plan for our lives and look to follow Him in the good times and bad.  In that way, we will better answer adversity's calling as more of a Paul than a Jonah.

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