In Acts 27 we see how Paul handles a difficult situation of being a prisoner on a ship in a storm. There are some typical things that we tend to do when we go through difficulty:
First of all, difficulties can cause us to drift and then they can cause us to discard. Verse 18 (NIV), “...they began to throw the cargo overboard...”
Paul and the others are out in the middle of the Mediterranean ocean and it’s been 14 days without any sunlight. They’ve been battered by the winds and waves back and forth and they start throwing things overboard to lighten the ship. First they threw the cargo overboard. Then it says they threw the tackle overboard. Then the food. They were ready to throw the prisoners overboard. They were discarding, abandoning things they needed because the storm was so tough.
This is a common, human reaction to difficulty. When you get in a storm, a difficulty, a trial, when the heat gets on and the pressure comes and the stress gets unbearable, you tend to start abandoning things, values, relationships you would not normally let go of in better times.
You hear “I'm throwing in the towel. I’m giving up on my marriage. I’m abandoning this relationship. I’m out of here. I’m checking out, chucking it all. I’m giving up on my dream to go to college, to get married, to making this marriage work...” We start throwing out things we shouldn’t be throwing out. Values, heritage, relationships. We start throwing things aside that we shouldn’t be throwing away. It’s typical because we act impulsively.
GOD says, Stay with the ship. Verse 31 (NIV), “Paul told the centurion and soldiers, ‘Unless these men remain in the ship, you cannot be saved.’ So the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's lifeboats and let them fall away.”
They cut away the lifeboats to force everyone to stay with the ship. Have you done that in your marriage? Have you cut the life boats lose so there’s no way out? Have you said, “Divorce is not an option for us. We’re going to make this thing work.” Have you closed the escape hatch, locked it with a key and thrown away the key. Divorce is not an option. If you haven’t, you’ll always be tempted to walk out. If you don’t throw away the key, you’ll never develop the character GOD wants you to have. It’s always easier to cop out than it is to develop character.
GOD can change situations, personalities. He can change you. But HE won’t if you’re always walking out the back door.
He says, “Stay with the ship”. Don’t throw out the values you know are right and important. Don’t abandon the things you know you need in your life.
I’ve learned from personal experience that it is never GOD’s will for me to run from a difficult situation. If you do, you will face it again later. GOD wants you to learn, to grow, to develop. Stay with it.
Just a thought from the front porch…