You’ve undoubtedly read stories about folks who have been led astray following the directions of their GPS. I did a “Wisdom of the Week” devotional about my experience with some friends when we went to visit “Wilderness School of the Bible” in Montana for the first time. Lola obviously didn’t know the correct location and rather than admit it, took us on a rather “wild goose chase.” At least we were able to stop and ask directions and managed to find the remotely located Bible school. Others who have been led astray have not been so fortunate and some have lost their lives before they were located.
In contrast, when God promises to take someone to a certain location—it will happen. He has never deceived anyone or led them in a direction other than He promised. Yesterday in our adult Sunday school class we were listening to Dr. David Jeremiah’s lesson on “The Fear of Sudden Trouble” from his series What Are You Afraid of? He used the story of the disciples and Jesus on the Sea of Galilee when a severe storm suddenly swept down upon them and the waves began breaking over the boat which was filling up with water. While the disciples were frantically trying to keep the boat afloat, Jesus was fast asleep. “They awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, ‘Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?’” (Mk. 4:38-40). As Dr. Jeremiah pointed out, before they left shore Jesus had said to them, “Let us go over to the other side” (v. 35). They had missed the fact that with Jesus on board, they need not fear, for they would reach the destination He had promised.
Another story is told in the New Testament about a storm at sea when it appeared those on board an Alexandrian cargo ship bound for Rome laden with grain along with some prisoners and soldiers to guard them would perish. But one of the prisoners happened to be the Apostle Paul who had been arrested in Jerusalem and had—as a Roman citizen—appealed his case to Caesar. There were 276 in all aboard the ship and it appeared they had no chance to make it in the fierce storm, but Paul urged them saying, “keep up your courage, for there shall be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship, For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; for you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told” (Acts 27: 22-25). Paul knew God would do as the angel said. He trusted God fully, and knew they would reach their destination, in spite of the storm, and even in spite of ship wreck.
In his lesson about the disciples and Jesus in the storm, Dr. Jeremiah pointed out two interested verses. The first is Psalm 56:3 which says: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee.” And the second is Isaiah 12:2 which says: “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid…” Dr. Jeremiah made a good observation as he compared those two passages, saying: “We can either trust God in the midst of the storm and learn in the process (to not be afraid…as David wrote in Ps. 56:3), or we can learn to trust Him ahead of the storm and know He is sufficient for every need (not be afraid, as Isaiah writes). The more you build your faith, the less you will be terrified by fear. It is a choice. We either live by fear or walk by faith.”
We can have the same assurance regarding our eternal destination as the disciples should have had in reaching the far shore or the Apostle Paul in reaching Rome in spite of the storms they encountered along the way. Jesus gives us this promise in John 5:24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” In the next chapter, John records another promise Jesus gave: “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me, I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:37-40). If you have come to Jesus Christ (drawn there by the Father), acknowledged your sinfulness, and believed on Him as your personal Savior, that He died for your sin and rose again, you have been “born again” (Jn. 3:3) and are no longer under the judgment of sin, and have changed your eternal destination from hell to heaven. And you can say with the Apostle Paul, “…For I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (II Tim. 1:12), “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).
As believers in Jesus Christ for eternal life, our destination is assured, no matter what “storms” we face along the way. With Jesus “on board” we will get there! As someone has aptly put it, “As long as the Head is above water, you can’t drown the feet!” And Christ is the Head of the Church. We are members of His body. Remember to do as Isaiah 12:2 tells us: “I will trust and not be afraid.” But, if you have yet to trust Christ for salvation, by all means do that! Otherwise, you have a lot to fear! If you’ve never done so, admit to Him today that you are a sinner and believe on Him for eternal life, and you will pass from death to life (Jn. 5:24) and then you “know that you have eternal life” (I Jn. 5:13), for “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (v. 12).