Courage for any crisis

Published 7:07 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One of the greatest crises in the New Testament centers around the shipwreck recorded in the entire 27th chapter of Acts. The Apostle Paul and 275 additional persons endured such a storm at sea that it climaxed in all the supplies and the ship being destroyed. Miraculously, there was no loss of life. But, the crisis resulted in opportunities to experience God through a three-month delay in the journey, a radical change of plans and the necessity for another ship.

The Apostle Paul was a mere prisoner on the ship. He was being taken as a prisoner to Rome to stand trial before Caesar, the Roman Emperor. But this prisoner was an example of courage and the source of courage to all who were on the ship during the crisis. Two times it is recorded that he urged upon the passengers and the crew, “Keep up your courage!” (Acts 27:22, 25)

Paul revealed the source of his courage to all on board the ship by four statements: “I belong to God”; “I serve God”; “I have a word from God”; and “I believe God.” I believe we can experience courage in any crisis as we make personal application to ourselves from the example of this prisoner in his crisis. Have the so-called storms of life eaten away at your lifestyle or even the basic necessities of life? Has the ship you have been traveling on become battered or destroyed? Maybe it’s the ship of family or the ship of marriage or the ship of good health or the ship of financial/employment security or some other, you name it. Has your journey been placed on hold or delay? Has it brought a total change in plans? Has another ship become necessary?

The call to courage comes to you. “Keep up your courage,” Paul says. Our Lord Jesus says “Be not afraid, only believe” and “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” I believe courage for any crisis can be ours if we can make Paul’s four crisis statements become our very own. Let’s review them.

“I belong to God.” God is not merely my creator; His Son has purchased me “with his own blood on the Cross.” I have been born again into God’s family through saving faith in Jesus Christ. He dwells in me by His Holy Spirit. I have presented my body a living sacrifice. Can you say in your crisis, “I belong to God”?

“I serve God.” Whatever storm comes my way I will serve God in that storm. Whatever loss the Lord allows to come my way, my purpose will be to serve him. I did not turn to Jesus Christ just to miss hell and go to heaven but to serve him and please him here and now. I will expect Him to be put on display in my crisis.

“I have a word from God.” It was an encouraging word. Even as Paul had a special word from God for his crisis, God has a special word for you and me as believers in our crisis experiences. It may be, “I will never leave you” or “Nothing shall separate you from God’s love” or “You can face anything through Christ who gives you strength” or “Be not afraid, only believe” or “Your God shall supply all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” or “God forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases” or “Absent from the body is to be present with the Lord which is far better” or some other faithful word or promise.

“I believe God” that it will be exactly as I have been told. What God has promised he is also able to perform. God is faithful. This is it: I risk all upon God and his word to me. There is a chorus from my youth that fits the crisis hour: “Jesus never fails. Jesus never fails. Heaven and earth may pass away; but Jesus never fails.”

In a crisis experience is an excellent time, once and for always, to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and in your heart and in prayer call upon Him, believe Him, receive His forgiveness and his indwelling presence.