Is Your World Falling Apart, or Falling Into Place?
Text: Acts 27:1-44
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Last week we had to say goodbye to our reliable little Ford Fiesta, which was totaled after Cindy was in an auto accident. When we retrace the details of that day, it’s quite amazing that she walked away from the accident scene without even a scratch. We look at the pictures of the crash and know without a shadow of doubt that she was held in the hand of God in those circumstances.
We know that she was in God’s grip during that anxious moment and we know that He will also hold us in the stressful process of replacing the vehicle. The lyrics of Casting Crown’s song Just Be Held keep saturating my thoughts like a constant rainfall:
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Sometimes it does feel like our world is falling apart—whether it’s the loss of a car you depend on every day, a sudden financial crisis, an alarming health concern, a business venture that collapses, or having your home flooded by a hurricane. It can feel like we are going under.
It’s in times like these that God wants us to remember that He is on the throne, and maybe our world isn’t falling apart as much as it is falling into place. In these moments we can be held by the grip of grace with a trust that the Supreme Being is orchestrating Romans 8:28 promises in our lives.
In Acts 27, Paul is detained on a ship that is transporting prisoners to Rome, where the apostle must stand trial before Caesar. As the ship founders amidst a devastating storm, 276 anxious people aboard begin to fear the worst. This was before the use of the compass as a maritime navigational device, when sailors depended on the sun and stars for their bearings. However Luke the physician, an eyewitness to this dangerous peril, writes that when “neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned” (Acts 27:20).
Hope was lost!
Sometimes it feels like we have no compass, no sun or stars, and no visible path forward. Yet this is when God does some of His best work in our lives!
In a time when Paul could’ve easily become self-absorbed with his own dreadful circumstances, instead he is serving others and urging them to take heart. An angel tells him not to be afraid, and in a vivid display of leadership in crisis (note that even prison chains can’t restrain Paul from leading well), Paul encourages and strengthens the souls of people in distress. Even the ship’s captain and guards begin to listen to this faithful man of God, and when the soldiers plot to kill the prisoners (lest any should escape), God’s man is influential in saving their lives.
Eventually the ship runs aground on an island with no loss of life, only the loss of cargo. They had to abandon the cargo to get out safely. It’s been observed that the ship had to be broken for the people to survive. The vessel carrying them had to be sacrificed in order to save them. Sounds familiar, yeah? That’s precisely what Jesus did for us on the cross. He sacrificed his own life in order to save us.
This is life, beloved. We have to let go of “the rudder” on a daily basis and let God hold us. He has a plan for our lives and He knows the outcomes. He writes our stories from beginning to end. Our futures are a memory to him because He’s already there. What seems to be a total loss may simply be God’s process in bringing about a much bigger glory in our lives—always to His praise!
Heavenly Father, we trust that where the compass fails, your arm of salvation flexes. Help us, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to see our trials and hardships less as disheartening circumstances, and more as a redirection of your divine purpose—a purpose that always has our future and your glory at heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Questions for Reflection and/or Family Discussion:
- When was the last time you felt like your world was falling apart?
- How has adversity and hardship shaped your life?
- When have you seen God take an unfortunate situation and turn it into something good or influential for the gospel?
- In what ways did Paul’s hardships give him a platform to serve, influence, and lead others?
- Where do you lack a “compass” in your present circumstances? What would it look like for you to let go of the “rudder” and trust God?
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