Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – October 2021
By Pastor Lloyd Pulley
There was a story of a marina looking for a hired hand. A thin old man came to apply, but looked ill-equipped for the heavy task of ensuring the large boats were secure. When asked of his experience he said, "Well, I can sleep when the wind blows." Though puzzled by his answer, the desperate manager hired him.
One night a storm came and panicked the manager as he hurried to assess the damage. Nearby the other marina’s boats were adrift in the bay, yet he was surprised to find every one of his boats safely protected by extra buoys, covered, and secured fast to the dock. The manager then understood what the man meant when he said "I can sleep when the wind blows." He was well-prepared ahead of time.
Wind and rain storms are unavoidable! But there are other storms in life which can wreak much worse havoc than the loss of a boat adrift. Storms such as loss of employment, loss of a loved one, or even news from the doctor that you have little time left. Uncertainty during this pandemic or the confusion of a hasty pullout in Afghanistan can shake people to the core. Hearing accounts from those part of the rescue efforts we are supporting in Afghanistan have been both amazing and heartbreaking. How does one prepare for such devastating loss?
Peter the Apostle, seeing a huge increase in the hostility of the Roman government towards followers of Jesus in the first century, warned believers in his first letter to be "armed with the same mind as Christ who suffered." He wanted them to be prepared for the worst-case scenario in this life—to face their greatest fear, which is death. Indeed, the fear of death is what can keep people in a state of bondage. And sadly, a specter of fear is dominating the hearts and minds of many today over COVID-19.
The author of the biblical book of Hebrews in chapter 2, verse 15, described what trusting in Christ’s death does for people: It becomes the "release (of) those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." What he was telling the believers was that Jesus came and died and set them free from this fear of death—that by believing in His atoning sacrifice they were now free to live an abundant life in Him, for all eternity!
The Apostle Paul also wrote to the Corinthian believers to encourage them through storms of pain and persecution. He encouraged them to change their perspective, and like Peter exhorted, to be "armed with the same mind as Christ who suffered." He reminded them that "the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal," (2 Corinthians 4:18). By charging them to focus eternally, he was essentially telling them to put their hope and the eyes of their hearts on those things that last forever!
When Jesus came to His disciples walking on the water, Peter cried out, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water!" Jesus told him to come! And Peter did the impossible—he walked on water! But when his gaze shifted to the wind and the waves, he began to sink and his cry became "Lord, save me!" Without His eyes on Jesus, he was now adrift and in need of rescue.
Many have been paralyzed by waves of magnified fears. And this magnification has shaken many to the core. But when we are threatened by being shaken, we are to remember that what is being shaken is only to reveal that which cannot be! What cannot be shaken is what will remain! A believer in Christ knows this is a test of how firm his foundation is and thus he is not moved. He will stand on his convictions!
This virus, these mandatory vaccinations, the uncertainty of who is at the helm, and many contradictory news reports have shaken Americans to the core. But many have found in their resolve an ability to not be moved from their peace and a hope no matter what happens.
Do you have such an anchor of hope to hold you fast in times of great distress? Are you firmly tied and attached to that which is able to save your soul?
I want to be like that man at the marina, who can sleep secure knowing he has prepared for the worst—knowing he has prepared for both the now and for the after.
Won’t you take advantage of the gracious offer from your Creator, providing you forgiveness from sin and eternal salvation? Have the certainty of knowing when the worst comes you are prepared.
I know it is rare to agree with others on many things in this life with media that has fueled the fires of social divisions—but we must not let that deter us from genuinely caring for all the individuals in our paths. Let us seek to secure not only our "boats," but their "boats" also.