Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea (2 Corinthians 11:25, NLT).
Writing to the church in Corinth, the apostle Paul said, in effect, “Trust me. I’ve been through it. I know more than I ever wanted to know about shipwrecks.”
I have never been literally shipwrecked, but I have been through some pretty rough seas. I remember being on one of those Bible study cruises years ago with a group of people from our church. We were trying to have an evening service as the ship bounced and rocked on the choppy waves. People were getting sick and lurching out of the room. Let’s just say the pastor gave an early benediction and ended the service before it ever really got started. But that wasn’t a shipwreck; it was only rough seas.
We’ve all had our share of rough seas, haven’t we? I’ve had my share of hardships in life. More than many? Perhaps. But not as many as some. I remember thinking not that long ago that maybe the days of big shipwrecks in my life were over. Oh, I know there always will be some difficulties, challenges, and trials in the Christian life. But I’d found myself hoping that I might somehow escape any big, traumatic events through my remaining years. You know...relatively smooth sailing the rest of the way to heaven. But of course, that was not to be with the unexpected death of our oldest son Christopher in July of 2008.
Anyone who has ever done any sailing can tell you how rapidly the weather can change — how quickly you can find yourself facing stiff winds and rising seas. The fact is, we can’t know what’s ahead of us in life. We can’t see the storms that may be churning just over the horizon. But God can!
And what was true for the psalmist in a time of uncertainty and great storms is true for you and me as well: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake... The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:1-3, 7, NIV).