Stay the Course. Be the Light.
by Impact Church
Acts 27:14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. 15) and when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.
More often than not, counsel neglected in calm waters is remembered with remorse when waves get choppy. For as the soft breezes promoted the Captain’s unwise decision to depart Lasea and sail to Phenice, so a menacing storm roared in, confirming Paul’s clear advice to stay put. Yet, what can the godly do when the ungodly hold the wheel of the boat we board? And what recourse do the wise have when the unwise have the numbers, the clout, and the might?
Well, when we find ourselves aboard a ship hell-bent to enjoy the wrath of a hurricane, the first inclination of the wise is to jump! But in the scheme of life, the wise and the foolish somehow find themselves doing the storms of life together. And sometimes the discerning get greasy, get hurt or held hostage by the decisions and directions of the unspiritual. And if they could leave the aftermath of those rejecting wisdom, then the astute could wag the finger and walk away…
But the wise live together with the unwise on the same planet, same nation, community, church, business, family, or in Paul’s case, same boat. So as inequitable it may be that life is done with those who leap from tall buildings and sleep on train tracks, God has chosen such interactions as introductions of grace to those distant from it.
A husband unchecked by the peril of credit card abuse, may bring his family under oppressive clouds of debt or bankruptcy. A promising young man may trivialize his education, trashing his scholarship and academic future with a concupiscent college lifestyle. And an intelligent young lady may forfeit her career plans with an unplanned pregnancy, impeding the dreams she and others possessed. And a business-minded mom may bring untold pain thru ill-advised substance abuse, losing interest in her family and enterprise while dealing with diminishing health.
But in any of these cases, do families forthrightly dissolve the connectivity and commitments due to foolish errors in judgment of those they love?
No way! That family steps to the plate and through forgiveness, kindness and patience initiates the necessary dialogue. And exposing the societal temptations each entertained and the hurtful entanglements, searches ways to restore the fallen to virtue and to God given purpose. So that, though not unscathed by the decisions of the willfully unwise, the family finds the grace to weather the storms and grow through the tempests incurred. They acknowledge the journey may be long, arduous and twisting- but they choose to stay the course, bring stability to the fallen, and honor the Creator.
Furthermore, when viewing the carnage created by wisdom scorned, the wise are tempted to gouge the gaping wound of the foolish with, “I told you so”. But it’s in such brokenness and chaos that grace has its strongest effect. So that the spirit of mercy and compassion rises quickly to remove the acrid judgments; prying slowly the heart for trust, then for conversation, companionship and conversion. For us to condemn and judge the world’s misdeeds is to miss the opportunity of declaring the One who refused to condemn us with ours.
So whether it’s a world without a moral compass, adrift and floundering; or a nation losing God-consciousness while storms of epic proportion brew at its borders; or a school board without the simple intelligence and logic of farm animals– we’re here with them. And we’re here on assignment. And we’re not alone. And we’re well equipped. And we’re not afraid. And we’re not running. And we’re not here to judge. And we won’t be reclusive. And we won’t go nuclear. And we won’t try to change the world. We will shine as lights.
At least that’s the way the Master did it…