Sovereign Over the Storm

Sovereign Over the Storm

The stories in Acts 27 and 28 described Paul’s journey to Rome. This has been Paul’s desire for some time, to get to Rome, but undoubtedly it was not under these circumstances as he is arrested and is a prisoner. He is going to stand trial before Caesar, but none-the-less he is excited about getting to Rome. God told him that he would get there and be able to proclaim the Gospel and encourage the church there.

Max Lucado tells a true story of a parakeet named “Chippy”. Chippy the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage and the next he was sucked, washed up, and blown over. The problems began when Chippy’s owners decided to clean his cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from one end of the hose and she stuck it in the cage and the phone rang. She turned to pick it up and she barely said, “Hello…” when swoosh, poor Chippy disappeared; he had gotten sucked in. The bird’s owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, opened the bag, and there was Chippy, still alive, but stunned. Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom. She turned on the faucet and she held Chippy under the running water. Then realizing that Chippy was now soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do – she reached for the hair dryer and she blasted little Chippy with hot air; poor Chippy never knew what hit him. A few days after the trauma, the reporter who had initially written about the event contacted Chippy’s owner to see how the bird was recovering and how he was doing. “Well,” she replied, “Chippy doesn’t sing much anymore. He just sits and stares.” It is easy to see why: he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over!

Perhaps we can identify with Chippy. Life is going well and we are sitting peacefully on our perch when, “Wham!” a storm overtakes our life like a F5 tornado. We are sucked in, washed up, and blown over by the pounding torrent of the trial. What does a Christian do in such storms? Do we become like Chippy: stunned, silent, and unable to sing? Is it possible that we can hold onto our life, to our joy, and to our song even in the midst of these trials?

In Acts 27, Paul is on a fourteen-day Mediterranean cruise that goes really, really badly. A hurricane sneaks up on their ship and all two hundred seventy-five passengers on board give up all hope of surviving. Paul is the two hundred seventy-sixth passenger, however, and he has a different view from everyone else. He doesn’t give up hope. He holds onto his hope. He holds onto his song. He kept his song, even in the midst of the storm. By example and by precept Paul teaches us how to keep our song of hope in the middle of a hurricane force storm.

God becomes our refuge, our protection, and our peace when we keep our mind steady and staid upon Him. Throughout this story God unveils five anchors to encourage us in life’s storms. The first anchor is the persistence of God’s presence. The second anchor is the security of God’s ownership. The third anchor is the completion of God’s purpose. The fourth anchor is the assurance of God’s promises. The fifth anchor is the confidence of God’s sovereignty.

Each of these anchors stabilizes the ship of our soul in the time of a storm and moves us to sing our song of perfect rest. These anchors connect us to the One Great Anchor who is never moved by any storm; in fact, He is the Author of the storm.

The hymn writer, W.C. Martin, writes it well in his hymn, “My Anchor Holds”:

Though the angry surges roll
On my tempest-driven soul,
I am peaceful, for I know,
Wildly though the winds may blow,
I’ve an anchor safe and sure,
That can evermore endure.

Often when the sky is blue and the winds are calm we begin to think that we may be exempt from such storms, but the truth is that we are not. “Man is born of trouble,” Job says, “even as the sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7) The real question is not, “Will we enter into storms and will we be tossed and turned on rough seas?” That is a certainty for all of us in this life. The real question that we must ask ourselves is, “Am I anchored to God and am I ready for such a storm?”

Paul has been accused of heresy, which is the context of this passage in Acts 27. He has been accused of sedition and of blasphemy. During his legal trials in Caesarea, he appealed to Caesar in Acts 25:12,

11 “…I appeal to Caesar!” 12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”

In Acts 27:1-2, our reading in this study, we read and assume that they are taking off from Caesarea and will travel to Rome for Paul to stand trial before Caesar. Luke is the author of Acts, the human instrument, but for several chapters prior to this, Luke no longer wrote in the first-person, plural pronoun in describing the events. It appears that Luke now joins Paul again after a time of separation and he writes,

1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. 2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.

The handing over of Paul to Julius seems providential because Julius seems to be a wise man, a compassionate man, and a kind person.

They first set sail in a small ship and they make their journey along the coast and Verses 3 through 8 describe the details of this journey, but we read, in Verse 3,

3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs.

Paul was always looking for a church to go to whenever he arrived in a city and that is a good habit for us. He wanted to fellowship and this centurion named Julius kindly allowed Paul to fellowship with some believers. Luke continues in Verse 4,

4 From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia.

This narrative goes on, describing port-by-port and detail-by-detail where this ship was sailing. Some read these verses and think, “This is a whole bunch of boring detail. What do I really care about which port they arrived and what port they next arrived and how the winds were blowing. There seems to be very little value in these six verses.” That simply is not true. These verses are very important for a number of reasons. The one that I focus on in this study is that these verses reveal the historical integrity of the biblical document. This chapter is one of those rare glimpses into a part of the ancient life that we don’t anywhere else. No where, in ancient literature, is such a description of the maritime details of a ship’s journey and it is amazingly accurate.

There is a man by the name of James Smith, a Scotsman, who lived in various parts of the Mediterranean world. He investigated weather patterns around the Mediterranean Sea and these various ports and the geography of the Mediterranean world. He was also a seaman. He recorded these investigations in a book entitled, The Voyage and the Shipwreck of Saint Paul, Chapters 27 and 28, “The Facts”. He concluded that the events written here had to have been written by an eye-witness. Listen to what he writes: “No sailor could have written in the style so little like that of a sailor and no man, not a sailor, could have written a narrative of a sea voyage so consistent in all of its parts (the geography, the wind patterns, and the certain time of the year of that portion of the Mediterranean Sea, etc.) unless from actual observation. Luke’s words are accurate in terms of the route the ship took, ancient navigating skills, details of the ship’s physical construction (Luke writes about it’s mast, about binding the ship with ropes, etc), and the way in which the sailors tried to cope with the storm.”

Today, the New Testament documents are rejected at every turn by many modern scholars and by modern “story tellers” such as Dan Brown who wrote The DaVinci Code that is a story that seeks to discredit the integrity of the Bible, particularly the Gospels themselves. As I consider all of these modern scholars and these story-tellers, who just out-of-hand, dismiss the historical accuracy of biblical documents, I ask, “Why do they reject these New Testament document that we have? Is it because there are glaring inaccuracies in the geography and in the culture that is described that could not have been written by an eye-witness account and is not accurate?” The answer to that question is, “No, the New Testament documents are incredibly accurate in their geography of the time and the names of the cities during the time.” Here we see the wind patterns in that certain time of the year in the Mediterranean Sea, how long it would have taken for a 1st Century ship to get from one port in these conditions to the next, etc. In all of the things that are described in this story, and this is one little example, is that the reason why there are inaccuracies of geography and culture? No, that is not the reason. Is it because there is not enough documentary evidence? Is it that the words in the Bible are not supported by ancient documents? The answer is, “No, there are thousands of ancient manuscripts that we have that reveal that the words that are written are representative of the original autographs written in ancient times by the Apostles, by the prophets, and, in this story, by Luke.”

Is the reason why so many of these modern scholars and story-tellers reject the Bible because the history behind the New Testament documents is in error? The answer to that is, “No, the history of the New Testament can be supported, not only in itself and in its consistency but also, by secondary sources and it is supported by these secondary sources and our theology continues to reveal the accuracy of the history of the time of both the Old and the New Testaments.”

So, I ask the question, “Why is it that the Bible is just discarded by so many modern scholars and story-tellers?” Here is the answer: the reason why the Bible is attacked and rejected by so many today is this – the message of the Bible is offensive to the natural heart of man and, therefore, the Bible must be destroyed in order to maintain personal pride, in order to maintain self-righteousness, and in order to keep from being confronted with the Truth that stands within the Word that God has given us.

I digressed from our topic, but I sense it is so important to recognize these things.

In Verse 8, Luke writes,

8 We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens…

Fair Havens was, undoubtedly, named by the “Chamber of Commerce Tourist Division”. It was named Fair Havens, not because it was a lovely port, but doesn’t that sound like a lovely place to vacation in the winter, but because it was a miserable place. There was nothing to do, as these sailors saw it, and they wanted to stay in Fair Havens; they wanted to stay anywhere else but in Fair Havens. They said, “We have to get out of here. There is a great city down the road that is the perfect place to winter. It is about forty miles away from here and it is called Phoenix.” They wanted to winter in Phoenix! Yet, it was late in the sailing season. After November very few sailors would set sail on the open sea because the seas got very rough and very dangerous from that time on.

There is a time-marker in Verse 9 that says,

9 …by now it was after the Fast.

This is referring to the Day of Atonement and in the year 59 AD, the year we believe these events took place, October 5th was the Day of Atonement, so these events took place after October 5th and it is very close to the time when no one set sail. Paul warns them against setting sail at such a time in Verse 10,

10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.”

We don’t know if Paul had a revelation from God or if it was because he was using his human wisdom, being a man who had been on the sea often and he understood the danger of sailing at that time. We don’t know for sure, but he seems to be very confident, though.

Then in Verse 11, we read,

11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.

The pilot and the owner are saying that they want to get out of Fair Havens and they wanted to get to Phoenix and they thought that they could do that. It is always dangerous to follow the advice of others over that of the Apostle Paul. It leads to great disaster in life.

They are traveling now upon a large “grain ship”. They have switched ships from the time that they left Caesarea. This ship is one hundred forty feet long and thirty-five feet wide. To give a little perspective, the sanctuary, from wall-to-wall (front to back) is about one hundred feet long so this is a big ship. It has two hundred and seventy-six passengers, but how small it must have felt on the open sea for those fourteen days, being bounced around by the hurricane.

Verse 13 through 15 reads,

13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.

These men were trained sailors. They were experts in this field. They had lived for so long on the sea. They did everything humanly possible to secure their ship, at this time, in the midst of the storm. As we read through this narrative, Verses 16 through 20, we read,

16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure. 17 When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

They first hauled the lifeboat on because it was going to be lost at sea if they didn’t and they might need to use it later. Then, they bound the ship with ropes to secure it. This was a practice in ancient times so that the boat wouldn’t break apart. They dropped the anchor to act as a brake, to slow the ship down, because they knew that they were drifting in the direction of a very dangerous part of the sea where it was shallow and where many ships had broken apart in the open sea and the crews had all perished. The text tells us that there was no sun or stars for fourteen days, just this torrential beating rain, these driving winds, and these waves bouncing this ship upon the sea. Imagine the condition of these men at this point: physically spent, unable to get any sleep, laboring all day long to secure the ship and to try to ride it out, being emotionally spent hoping that “maybe tomorrow will be a better day”, and tomorrow is not a better day. That was two long weeks on a ship in the middle of the sea. In Verse 20 we read of their state, “…we finally gave up all hope of being saved.”

The question I ask you, “Have you ever been in such a spot?” Undoubtedly, many of you have and all of us one day will. When the storm that doesn’t seem to let up and we don’t see the sun and stars, we finally come to a point of being physically exhausted and emotionally spent, and we say, “there is no hope. We just need to give up.”

Paul steps forward and he speaks words of hope to anchor our souls. He speaks to the first anchor: the persistence of God’s presence. Verse 21 is not so much, I believe, an “I told you so,” but it is more of an, “Hey, listen to me! I was right in the beginning so I want you to listen to me now.”

In Verse 22, the text says,

22 “But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.”

How could a man say that in such a storm: “Keep up your courage! Hold on!” “Why should we keep up our courage, Paul?” Look at Verse 23,

23 “Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me…”

Paul became most conscience at this moment that he was not just out on the sea with two hundred and seventy-five other frail humans, but he knew that God was with him and that God had sent His angel to remind him of God’s special presence with him on that open sea and in the midst of that storm. This was not the first time that Paul would have sensed God’s special presence in his life. In Acts 18:9, Jesus came to Paul in a vision in the city of Corinth. The text tells us,

9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.”

Then in Caesarea, in Acts 23:11, after Paul had been arrested, Jesus stands beside Paul, in the flesh, Jesus comes in physical form,

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

Remember Jesus’ words to His disciples, in Matthew 28:20, before He left, He said,

20 “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

There is a persistence in God’s presence with God’s children. In Hebrews 13:5, God says,

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Such is the persistence and presence of God in our lives and of which we can be absolutely certain. Often times storms many cause us to think that we are alone, but we are not. We often forget that this is true: indeed, God is present at every turn. The great question is not, “Is God present,” because that is absolutely true, but the question, in the midst of the storm, is, “How can I be conscious of God’s presence?”

God rarely reveals Himself in these days through a vision or through audible voices, but He reveals us to Himself in a more sure way and that is through the Word and through God’s Holy Spirit.

I want to relate to you one such incident. I was taking classes at Covenent Seminary in Saint Louis and I was there for the week. I called home and my wife was rather distressed. Our youngest child, who was one or two at the time, had a fever that spiked in an alarming way and she was unable to get that fever down. She had a call into the doctor, but she still didn’t know exactly what was going on. It was late in the evening and my soul and spirit began to be so troubled inside. I began to be so anxious and fearful about what was going to happen to my precious little boy. It was then, in the midst of my anxiety and discomfort, and grave concern and care that I took myself aside and I sat myself down in a chair and I opened up the Bible and I said, “God, I need you. Would you meet me?” I can only say that God met me in a remarkable way so that, before I found out that the trial had been relieved, while my son was this great fever and having such tremendous problems, there became an immense calm over my soul. That is not to say that that happened in a one-minute, two-minute, or five-minute bit of time, but it is to say that God met me and it is to say that it is what God promises to do to us as we wait upon Him. How long do we wait? We wait and we wait and we wait upon the Lord. We wait until we gain a sense that we know that God is present with us, and it is God’s presence that provides this overwhelming sense of peace.

Joe Scriven was a missionary from Ireland to Canada and he was working among the Iroquois Indians. He was joined by his finance, who was also from Ireland. Just before the wedding she was killed in an accident. Joe Scriven was heart-broken and was near despairing. A year later he wrote a letter to his mother, and these are the words he wrote: “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer.” Joe came to understand something in the midst of his trials and he came to understand what Paul came to know – the persistence of the presence of God.

Often times God uses these trials in our lives to make us more aware of His presence than ever before. He reveals Himself to us, not by shielding us from powerful and frustrating storms but rather, by exposing us to them and it is here, in the midst of these storms, that we are shaken to the point of realizing our own personal inadequacy, as these two hundred and seventy-five men were; they had given up all hope. Why? It was because they had been trusting in themselves and they realized that they, themselves, were not enough and we not adequate for the storm. Paul pointed out to all of these men, “Take courage because there is another who is greater and stronger than us and He is here.”

Jay Packer puts it this way, “When we walk along a clear road feeling fine and someone takes our arm to help us, likely we would, impatiently, shake him off. But when we are caught in rough country, in the dark and with a storm brewing, and with our strength spent and someone takes our arm to help us, we thankfully lean on him. God wants us to feel that way through this life that is rough and perplexing so that we may learn to lean on Him, thankfully, and therefore He takes steps to drive us out of self-confidence to trust in Himself.” This is what it means to wait on the Lord.

The second anchor we want to look at is the security of God’s ownership. In Verse 23, of this vision, Paul said,

23 “Last night an angel of the God whose I am…”

Paul understood that he belonged to God. Later, he would write, to the church in Corinth, in 1 Corinthians 6,

19 …You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.

Paul understood that he was God’s precious possession. What difference does that make? It makes all the difference for us to know that we, as believers, are God’s precious possession.

A pastor of day’s gone by, by the name of Donald Barnhouse, explored, through this passage, the many ways in which we are God’s possession; as the Scripture describes us as being “God’s own”. He noted that we belonged to God as the “bride belongs to the bridegroom” and that we, the church, are the “bride of Christ”. How does the groom respond lovingly to his bride? Nothing is going to tear away the bride from his side.

We also belong to God as a child belongs to his or her father since we are God’s children through faith in Jesus Christ. What does a father do if he sees his child in danger or under attack? What does a father do? A father, because that is his child and his special person, runs to address the need of the moment. Such it is with God.

We would observe that we belong to God even as a sheep belongs to the shepherd. Jesus told the story of the hundred sheep and one walks away and the shepherd left the ninety-nine to go seeking after that one sheep. Why? It is because that one sheep is his.

We can take great comfort in the fact that God owns us. I ask you, “Does God own your life,” not in the sense that you are just a part of God’s creation. In this sense God owns everything! But, there is a special sense that the Bible talks about, that we become a possession of God through faith in Jesus Christ, and if you don’t have faith in Jesus Christ so that you are not God’s child by faith in Jesus, then you don’t have the right to be called a “child” or a “son” of God. If that is not true of you, then there is no comfort such as this in the midst of a storm. It is only in as much as you yield yourself up to Jesus Christ and say, “God, I receive Jesus Christ as my own so that I might be your child,” then the comfort is ours.

The third anchor we will look at is the completion of God’s purpose. Again, we look at Acts 27:23 and 24, and these little words are so important.

23 “Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar…’”

Paul is saying that he serves God and that God had a work for him to do, a work that has not yet been finished for him to accomplish in his life. God had more labor for Paul to fulfill. As a person in God’s service Paul is more confident, “I am not going to leave this world until God is finished using me as an instrument. And once God is finished using me as an instrument, I happily go to Heaven to spend an eternity with Him, but until God is finished using me there is nothing that can take my life.”

Ephesians 2:10 tells us, after Paul tells us that we are saved by grace through faith alone and that salvation is a gift of God, it is not of works (Verse 8),

10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Friend, this is one of the many values of being diligent in serving God as God intends. If we are diligent in serving God as God intends we can understand that God is going to protect us so that His purposes for our lives will never be frustrated. God is not frustrated so we don’t need to be frustrated either as we are faithful to serve Him, as the Apostle Paul was.

In fact, God often uses the storms to prepare us to be better laborers and to be equipped servants. Servants who patiently endure suffering are more equipped to do God’s will. As we go through our life’s struggles we know that God has a purpose for us and for those we love and until that purpose is completed there is nothing that can harm us and come against us. When that purpose is completed God, in His love and kindness, will secure us.
That is why we come to the fourth anchor: the assurance of God’s promises. In Verse 25, Paul says,

25 “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God…”

I don’t care for that translation so much for I believe that the New King James Version translates that much better. Luke uses a different verb and the Verse reads,

25 “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God…”

Believing God at His Word is necessary if we are to have the strength that we need to be calm in the midst of the storms. I am bewildered as to why it is so difficult for us, so often, to believe God. I believe God. Can you say that? God is believable and He cannot lie. He has proven Himself to us at every turn to fulfill His promises. Why is it hard, in the midst of the storm, to believe that God’s promises are true for us? Why do we suspect that God might not be true in speaking His Word to our lives and what a scandal unbelief is in the time of a storm? Consider this, if we were talking about a co-worker, a neighbor, or an acquaintance and we said to another person, “I find it hard to believe him. I find it hard to believe that man,” are we not speaking ill of his character in one of the worst ways? And yet, our sin-filled hearts slander God in just this way when we doubt His promises to be true in our lives and in our situation.

Paul believed God and his faith was grounded in God’s revelation. He said, “I believe God just as He told me,” and here, the revelation promise that God gave to this angel spoke very clearly what the promise was that God made to Paul. We don’t have an angel today, but we don’t need to envy Paul because we have something more sure: we have the written, enduring, eternal Word of God that reveals to us hundreds and hundreds of promises that He has given to us through His Word.

Notice that Paul “believed” just as He told him. His faith was grounded in revelation and it was grounded in the absolute accuracy of the revelation: “Just as He told me it shall be. I believe in the absolute truthfulness of the revelation that God has promised. It shall be; what God has written, He guarantees: no errors, no amendments, and no erasures.”

The last day, when God’s purpose for earth’s history is complete, history will tally God’s record of fulfilling His word and guess what will be written at the end of that report? How many promises did God fulfill? What is God’s record of completing that which He spoke? Here it is: at the end, “It shall be; so it was absolutely, one hundred percent, and in every way true. ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away, but God’s Word shall not pass away.’” (Matthew 24:5) This is the joy of the believer.

Paul expressed this joy in plain language to people who didn’t believe the revelation of God. There were two hundred seventy-six men on board and we know that there were two believers, but the rest were probably unbelievers and pagans who didn’t believe in God, yet, Paul was not afraid in the midst of his trial to say, “I believe God. Just as God told me that is how it is going to be and I am going to speak to you about that and I am going to tell you what God said and I am going to tell you that I believe in it.”

We suffer in the Christian church so much from being humble in an unflattering sense. We are humble, being unwillingly to speak boldly of our confidence of the promise of God on our behalf and to say to this world that we believe God. Listen to what Charles Spurgeon wrote in the late 1800’s: “Now-a-days, people are so dreadfully modest that they are afraid to glorify God. God save us from such cowardice. Infidelity brawls in every street. Shall faith be dumb? If you believe there is, at this time, a grave necessity that you should declare your faith, for unbelief is rampant. Let us who believe in God speak out at once though men call us narrow-minded, destitute of culture, incapable of enlarge views, and other pretty things. What does it matter what they say? All that they say or insinuate should only make us more vehemently to declare, ‘I believe God.’”

Let us look for a time this week to speak out to our culture and say, “You know what, I believe God!” Such testimony first provides glory to God, but also, I believe it was one aspect that brought calm to Paul.

Finally, the last anchor is confidence in God’s sovereignty. In Verse 26, we read,

26 “Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

Why was that? It was because God had decreed it. Paul knew his God and he knew that God controlled the winds and the waves and the seas and everything in it. He knew that God was in absolute control of this ship, its destiny, and its future. God had revealed to Paul that this ship was going to run aground, so Paul said, “We must run aground. That is what is going to happen because God is absolutely sovereign.”

Remember when Jesus was in the boat on the open sea, in the storm, with His disciples (Matthew 8:23-27)? They became so fearful that they woke Him up and Jesus asked, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Then He said, “Peace, be still,” and guess what, the winds and the waves calmed and they asked the question, “Who is this that the winds and the waves obey him?” I tell you that He is the King of Glory, the Sovereign over all of the world.

Here is One who is Ruler of all events. He is present with us. We are His precious possessions. He is giving us many true and faithful promises and He is sovereign.

Since God is sovereign, Paul believed Him and he rested in Him, even in the midst of a storm.

Do you believe that God is absolutely sovereign over every detail of your life and that nothing happens to you that has not been designed by God to bring about His glory and your ultimate joy? We know that all things work together for good to those who love God. It is not that we “think” or that we are “pretty sure” or that we “have a high probability”. We know why because we know that God is sovereign.

Van Pavner told the story of an elderly lady who was greatly disturbed by her many troubles. Some of the troubles were real and some of them were imaginary. Finally, someone in her family tactfully told her, “Grandma, we have done all that we can for you. Now you will just have to trust God for the rest.” This dear woman had a look of despair spread across her face and she said, “Oh, my, has it come to that!” Van Pavner comments on the story, “It always comes to that so we might as well begin with that.”

It came to that in this story. They did everything they humanly could to protect themselves, and finally there was no hope because that was all that they were trusting in. It always comes to that – we just have to trust God.

Charles Spurgeon tells another story of another elderly woman, but it is contrasting: she is dying. Her minister came to visit her and he said to her, “Well, my sister, how are you? Are your spirits good?” She said, “Yes.” He continued, “But don’t you feel yourself very sinking?” “Sir,” she said with surprise, “what did you say?” “Don’t you feel yourself, in these times, weak and sinking?” She said to him, “Minister, I would not have believed that you would have put such a question to me, but as you have I must answer it. What do you say, ‘sinking’? Did you ever hear of anyone sinking through a rock? If I stood upon the sand I might sink, but I am standing upon the Rock! How, how can I sink?”

Friends, we have a sovereign God whom we can stand upon. The anchors of our soul in the midst of the storm are: the persistence of God’s presence; the security of God’s ownership; the completion of God’s purpose; the assurance of God’s promises; and the confidence of God’s sovereignty. What safety we have!

These men, it tells us, gave up all hope of being saved. I wonder if, spiritually, that is not true for some of you; you have considered the Gospel and you have considered your life and you said, “I have tried to do what is right and I have tried to live like a Christian, and yet I have failed. There are too many sins, too many weaknesses, and too many failings for me ever to be saved!” My friend, I tell you that hopelessness is not rooted in the Truth for the Truth is this: if you come to God in faith, believing in Jesus Christ His Son who died upon the cross for you, salvation is near and is at your door and all you need to do is call out to God ask and He will answer you; seek after Him and you will find Him.

My friend, God invites to receive for yourself the precious salvation that is in Christ. Won’t you do that this day?