Imagine that you're in a small boat in the middle of the ocean. The sky is getting dark. Rain begins to fall. Thunder rolls in, and lightning pierces the sky. The wind is blowing harder, and you're afraid.
Remember, you're in a boat. Are you going to jump into the violent ocean? Attempt to swim to shore, although you can't see any land? Of course not. You're going to stay in the boat. It's safe there. You're protected. The cabin will give you comfort and keep you secure.
Life brings us stormy weather. We experience heavy rains and high winds when we are confused, discouraged, or depressed. Challenges can cause pain deep within, and unexpected events can stir up the waters around us.
I like to think that we have a different kind of boat that offers comfort and protection when our skies become dark. This boat is one of fellowship, prayer, God's word, and faith. Let's look at each one.
Stay in the boat of fellowship. First, we need to have fellowship with Christ. 1 John 1:3 says, "That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." Second, we need to have fellowship with each other. People need people. If we love God, we are to love one another. He never intended for us to be alone. 1 John 1:7a says, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another." Fellowship will keep us strong and encourage us when we are in stormy weather.
Stay in the boat of prayer. He promises a response. God hears our prayers, and He answers. His response might not be what we are expecting but He always responds in a way that fits into His ultimate plan and purpose. He promises His presence. The Holy Spirit is alive in us; therefore, God is always present. Although we don't hear Him audibly and we don't see Him literally, we can be assured that He is with us at all times, in all places, and in all circumstances. He promises wisdom. When we are so overwhelmed that we don't even know what or how to pray, He guides us. And because He knows our hearts, He knows what we need even when we struggle with our words during prayer.
Stay in the boat of God's word. God gives us an instruction book for life: the bible. Everything we could ever need is in this book. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." God's word is the living word, and it's eternal. God's word directs our paths. It's a light in the dark. Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Stay in the boat of faith. Our faith will make us stronger and more equipped for each new storm. And our strength will help us to be more faithful. God is a god of compassion. He is a god of truth. And He keeps His promises. Lamentations 3:22-24 says, "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!'"
Maybe you're in the middle of a storm right now. You're scared. You're discouraged. Remember to stay in the boat of fellowship. Reach out to someone to come alongside of you and keep you company. And be sure to fellowship together with God. Stay in the boat of prayer and remember God's promises of response, presence, and wisdom. Stay in the boat of God's word, for it will light your path and guide your way. And stay in the boat of faith. God is love. He is compassion, and He is truth. Have hope in Him.
If the sky is clear and sunny for you right now, you can be sure that it will indeed rain some day. Maybe this is just the calm before the storm. Prepare your boat so that you're ready when the storm comes.
How will you react when the sky becomes dark, the rain is pelting, and winds are blowing strong? You can choose to stay in the boat!