The disciples experienced storms. The Scriptures give an account of a night when they found themselves in the midst of a terrible storm. They had been toiling and rowing their boat seemingly to no avail. Although the scenarios look slightly different in each gospel, the overall picture indicates that the disciples were afraid, thinking they were going to drown. When the disciples saw Jesus coming toward them, they opened their hearts to him and invited him into their boat. One of the scenarios in the Scriptures says that Jesus stepped into the boat and immediately they were at land. There are two possibilities here. Jesus either stepped into the boat, and they were miraculously taken from one location to another; or the other possibility is that the whole incident took place close to shore. It was dark, they were rowing, and they were lost. They may even have been close to the end of their journey, but there was still one problem— Jesus was not yet in their boat. Some of you are in the midst of a storm, just as the disciples were. You could be just feet from the shore, at the end of a particular journey, but the forces coming against you have been driving you back. This is because Jesus is not yet in your boat. When you invite Him in, you are not just inviting a minimum form of divine protection; you are welcoming the entire agenda of God.
I believe that if you can hear what the Holy Spirit is saying, you will open your heart and ask Jesus into the midst of your situation. “Jesus, you are welcome to speak to me, to challenge me, and to overturn my ideas and direction.” The moment you do this, you are going to be secure. The storm has accomplished God’s desire to produce in you a desperation for Him and His will. The same Christ who stood in the disciples’ boat and commanded the wind to stop, the waves to be still, is now in your boat and is able to speak into your life.
The Bible mentions another storm in Acts 27. I liken it to a journey in the life of a typical Christian. Paul was on board a ship headed for Rome. He was in the divine will of God moving towards an end the Lord had desired for his life. Traveling on the ship with him were many people who were not spiritually minded. They liked the fact that they had a man of God in their ship even though they themselves were not yet hearing from God. Their lives were moving in a direction that was going to bring them to shipwreck; but there was in them a deep inner stubbornness which prevented them from hearing what God was speaking through Paul.
In Acts 27:9–11, we read: Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.
Here Paul warned them their journey would be disastrous, because it was not ordered of God. Maybe you too are contemplating a journey not directed by Him. If you are in a place where truth is being preached, God will speak and caution you about heading in a direction that is not beneficial to you.
Then there are some reading this message who are on a perilous journey, because they choose to believe a religion they have contrived, more than the things spoken through the Holy Spirit. These people are on a selfinduced and self-absorbed course that has the name of God on the bow of the ship, but it is destined for disaster. God will challenge all religion that has no compassion for the lost. Like them you have a decision to make: Either believe what the Holy Spirit is speaking or continue on this journey of your own making and eventually come to ruin.
There are many today who are following this soft, south wind that requires nothing of them and even has an appearance of being godly. It is almost like putting your finger to the wind and whichever direction seems to bring the least amount of resistance to your ambitions, plans, and wishes is the direction you take.
This kind of leading, by a soft wind, is best illustrated in the life of the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15. This young man was working in his father’s house, but did not yet understand his father’s heart. One day he went to his father and said, “Give me my inheritance.” You can almost feel the soft wind that led him out of the house and out of his father’s work. I can’t help but think of the multitudes in the house of the Lord who have an inheritance in Christ, but they come to the Father and utter the same cry as the prodigal son: “Give me my inheritance so I may go out and continue to enjoy my life and have a good time with my friends. I am now a child of God, for which I am grateful, but there are still so many of my plans, ambitions, and dreams before me. I have a destiny to fulfill, but I can’t do it without your inheritance. Now that you have set me free and forgiven my sins, I ask you to give me a portion of your life; however, I don’t want the whole burden.” This, then, is the measure of the deceptiveness of their self-made religion.
The father, of course, gave the prodigal what he asked for, seemingly without argument. This is the amazing thing about the grace of God. As with the prodigal son, God lets you go, even though your ship is headed in the wrong direction. Your life is moving into a place of storms and great difficulty but God, in His grace, still goes with you.
Excerpt By C. Conlon