Shipwrecks

 

from Noah Gray
delivered originally as a devotion to Uncharted staff

21After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I servestood beside me 24and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

-Acts 27

 

Life comes at us directly and mostly without pause. When we take hits in our lives, rarely do they feel like glancing blows. They just plain hurt. They can make us not only feel like our ship might be sinking, but believe that our ship is sinking and taking everything down with it. And sometimes, the ship is indeed destroyed.

But even in this destruction, hope is not gone. In “How to Survive a Shipwreck,” Jonathan Martin describes it this way,

“To lose the boat is to lose the ground beneath your feet, the stories you told yourself and others, to lose what protected you from all the elements before...You can lose your boat, lose your house with all the pictures inside it, lose your job, lose your most defining relationship.
And still not lose you.
And still not lose your soul.
And still not lose your faith.
Make no mistake: You will be stripped down in the shipwreck. But you will not be lost."

Not exactly the most uplifting vignette of human life, but it’s honest. I suspect that many of us have experienced some of these ground-shifting events. The boat has gone down and life, and your perspective of it, has changed dramatically. But in reminding us of Paul in Acts 27, Martin reminds us there is hope.

Look at verse 22, “not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.” The storm will come. It’s not really a matter of if. And if my experiences in life have taught me anything, it’s that the storm is painful. But on the other side, when the clouds have parted, we can see with a new perspective. We can see the things we’ve learned about weathering the storm. We can see what we needed to lose in order to gain. We can see changes to make. We can see the resilience and wisdom that come from living through it.

And we can take hope in the assurance of our protector and refuge.

Noah Gray