I used to enjoy flying. Not anymore. After experiencing the worst turbulence in my life and feeling the plane I was in drop several thousand feet in one “bump,” I have woken up to realize it’s crazy to be cruising through the air at hundreds of miles per hour, tens of thousands of feet up in the sky. What goes up must come down, and I expect it to come down in a blaze of fire.
That is, until the captain comes on the intercom with his calm, optimistic, charming drawl and announces, “Just a few bumps in the sky tonight ladies and gentlemen, nothing to worry about, we’ll have you at the gate right on time.” Those reassuring words settle my gut.
There’s nothing like a comforting, reassuring word when you’re in the middle of suffering or affliction. To be told by someone who has a strong sense of the outcome that everything will be okay, and you don’t have to fear or despair, is relieving. That comforting word, coming from someone who is in control, is even more powerful.
When we face trials and afflictions, even physical storms, we are tempted to let fear get the upper hand in our hearts. We believe the worst, are confident that we are alone, and that God has abandoned us. In Acts 27, I am sure that Paul’s cohort traveling with him began to fear for their very lives as the storms of the sea assailed them. The doom of drowning in the middle of the ocean hung over their heads. Yet Luke presents Paul as a man at peace. This same apostle who we think of for his driven and ambitious work to spread the gospel seems serene and tranquil in the middle of a ship in chaos. What was his secret to peace? The comforting, reassuring word of the One who was truly in control.
Paul was able to settle his heart and the hearts of his friends in the storm. “Take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me” (Acts 27:25). Paul rested on the very word and character of God.
As believers, when we face both physical and spiritual storms, we can go to the promises of God in His Word to find peace. Verses like, “The LORD watches over the blameless all their days” (Psalm 37:18) remind us to trust the Lord because He cares and is sovereign over our lives. The storms we are facing today are means for us to listen to the loving voice of God in His Word and to trust him in all things. Would we be so confident to sing, as Martin Luther wrote,
“And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.”