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Monday, June 1, 2015

How Difficulties Can Make Me Better

In review of Acts 27:31 it says, “Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, ‘Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.’”

Bottom Line:
Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, ‘Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.

What this means to me:
There will be things that come that will make me what to bail, however, I must hang in there, God is teaching and growing me through the experience.

One things is for certain, Life is not fair. I will have problems, difficulties, and hurts that will make me better or bitter. I will either grow up or give up. I’ll either become who God wants me to be or my heart will become hard. I need to decide how I’m are going to respond to the tough times in life.

What I’m learning is that when I go through difficult times, what happens to me is not nearly as important as what happens in me. That’s what I take into eternity, not the circumstances but my character.

In Acts 27, I can learn three ways I shouldn’t respond:

First, I shouldn’t just drift. “The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along” (Acts 27:15 NIV). The ship carrying Paul and other prisoners to Rome was in the middle of the Mediterranean and hadn’t seen the sun for 14 days, so they couldn’t get any bearings, and they started to drift. When facing difficulty, it’s easy to start drifting or coasting through life with no goal, purpose, ambition, or dream. The problem with coasting is that you’re headed downhill. Life is not a coast. Life’s tough. I should never lose my ambition or dream just because life gets hard.

Second, I shouldn’t discard. “We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard” (Acts 27:18). The men in charge needed to lighten the ship, so they threw the cargo overboard, then the tackle and the food. They were discarding things they needed because the storm was so tough. It’s easy when in the midst of a storm when the stress gets unbearable, there is a tendency to start abandoning values and relationships you would not let go of in better times. God says, “Stay with the ship!” If I do walk out or throw away the key, then I’ll never develop the character God wants me to have. God can change situations and personalities. He can change me. God wants me to learn, grow, and develop. Stick with it.

Third, I should never despair. “We finally gave up all hope of being saved” (Acts 27:20). After 14 days in total darkness and after giving up their cargo, tackle, and food, the passengers finally give up hope. But they’d forgotten one thing: Even in a storm, God is in control. He hasn’t left me. I may not always feel him, but if I feel far from God, guess who moved? God is with me in the storm, and he’ll help me through it. He is testing me to see if I’ll trust him. Will I pass the test?

I just need to realize that difficulties in this life will come, but I should never drift, discard or despair when they occur.  What is happening to me is not nearly as important as what God is doing within me.