Monday, April 27, 2015

In Mobile

We've seen a lot of water in the last few days. The huge bridges crossing the Mississippi River were impressive each time. So was the long bridge crossing the southern part of Lake Ponchartrain - no, not the long way, but this was long enough! There was water coming down, too, much of today. What went through Texas yesterday moved on east and stretched from Houston to Mobile, appeared to set in for the day - so we slowed down.

Our plans had been to tour the USS Alabama in Mobile Bay and then stop by the Blessed Hope Boys Academy - Beloved Husband's cold and the rain brought us to stopping point rather than move on and miss those two stops. It made me think of a time when Paul was stopped by a storm. He was a prisoner, on his way to Rome, after appealing to Caesar and the storm was very strong. He had confidence in listening to God:

And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Acts 27:22-24 (KJV)

Some of the sailors were so afraid that they tried to leave the ship in a small boat, hoping to save themselves. Paul told the centurion that unless they stayed on the ship, all would be lost. The centurion cut the boat free and the entire ship load of people suffered together - for two weeks:

And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.

Don't you wish it was that easy? Listen to a good preacher, heed what he has to say and we'd all be safe - even those who tried to leave. However, that wasn't the end of the story then and it isn't today.

Just as problems occur when we can barely see past the storm, getting to land wasn't easy for this ship. It eventually could not make landfall and the passengers had to help each other. Some didn't want to help, afraid of possible, yet not yet guaranteed, consequences:

And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.

What will it take to get us and our fellow travelers (No - not on this particular cross-country trip!! Our fellow travelers in this world!!) safely through life to God's goal for us?

It may take those who can swim on their own, those who need some boards, those who cling to broken pieces along the way - and I believe it takes helping your fellow travelers. We do that by caring for the them the same way God cares for us -- with love. Telling the truth of the Bible in love. How do you see it?

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