Stability in crisis
“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” Acts 27:20 (NIV).
IN AN extreme crisis, we can eventually get to the point of despair and give up all hope. The last thing we throw out when we’ve got a problem is hope, and when we’ve thrown that away, we have reached the bottom of the barrel. In Acts 27 the sailors were 14 days in total darkness in a little ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. They had been tossed back and forth by the storm until they threw out everything and gave up all hope.
Perhaps you feel like that now. Maybe you have lost your job or are worrying about it. Maybe you’ve had one problem after another for a while. The problems have been throwing you back and forth, and you’ve come to the point of despair. You think, ‘What’s the use? There’s no hope. This is an impossible situation’. That’s not the end of the story. There’s still hope because God is with you, and He’s still in control. God is our hope in seemingly hopeless situations.
The amazing part of the account in Acts is that Paul’s reaction to the storm (the crisis) is completely different from that of the sailors. The sailors were dejected, discouraged, and at the end of their rope. To them everything looked hopeless, but Paul was calm and confident. He had courage in the crisis.
The sailors’ reactions were the natural responses to crisis, but Paul’s reaction was supernatural. He knew that he was lost at sea, but he also knew that God knew where he was.
One test of our Christianity is how we handle a crisis. What happens when things are going bad or are falling apart? When a crisis comes, do you cling to Christ? Problems are a testing ground of our faith. When the problems come, we’re tempted to despair, drift, be driven by the circumstances, or throw in the towel. Character isn’t made but is in fact revealed in a crisis. Character is actually made in the day-by-day, mundane, trivial things of life – the routine. Character is made in the everyday, but it is revealed when we get into a situation that threatens to swallow us up.
What should we do when things look like they’re falling apart and the ship’s sinking underneath our feet? What should we do when we’re being battered by the problems in life? Acts tells us that the sailors, “Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight” Acts 27:29 (NIV).
The sailors had to anchor deep and get stability. They had to be tied to something so they would not be carried away. Often when we’re carried by our problems, it makes us more unstable and want to change everything. When a person loses someone (death) or something important, they tend to want to do something like quit their job, sell their house, or move to a new place. That’s exactly what they don’t need, more change. They actually need some stability, which starts on the inside. What we need to change most is what’s happening on the inside. We need to be able to find a place of peace, hope, and stability. The Bible says: “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken, but endures forever.” Psalm 125:1 (NIV). These are the things that only God can provide for us in times of crisis.