2/20/2018 – Don’t Jump Ship! – Pr. Noleen Mendes

30 Then the sailors tried to abandon the ship; they lowered the lifeboat as though they were going to put out anchors from the front of the ship. 31 But Paul said to the commanding officer and the soldiers, “You will all die unless the sailors stay aboard.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes to the lifeboat and let it drift away. – Acts 27:30-32 (NLT)

The easiest thing to do, when life get a little rocky, is to jump ship. After all, it’s tough to wait on God! Sometimes it seems obvious that we’d be better off anywhere else than where we’re at right now. But the truth is that what “seems” obvious and what “is” obvious are 2 different things! It was obvious to Paul that he follow God’s instructions. However, it wasn’t so obvious to the sailors. Why? Because they had no faith in God! Paul had an incredible faith in God while the sailors had an incredible faith in fear. It was their fear that almost killed them. Had they not heeded Paul’s bold warning, they would have met with a tragic end.

The wise decision these sailors made was to cut the rope and let the lifeboat drift away. I’m sure it was difficult for them to watch the one thing which they thought was their only hope of survival, moving farther and farther away from them. But their only hope of survival was right where they were at, which, they would eventually come to know.

Over the years, I have watched some, whom I love dearly, jump ship and opt for the world’s way of “survival”. Except, I don’t believe that was their intention in the beginning.  The enemy is crafty and really good at being suttle.  Maybe it started with work on Sundays. Then the kids had sports.  And then family or friends came to visit for the weekend. Then, before they even realized it, the rope had been cut. They became oblivious to the fact that they’ve jumped ship and is drifting away. I’ve watched them move farther and farther away from Jesus and more and more into the arms of the world. I’ve watched them struggle to survive the waves of daily living, being tossed around and living in fear.  I’ve watched them deal with relationship issues with great distress and hopelessness. I’ve watched them anxiously move about life void of Worship and the Word, the 2 things that could bring them back on board.

Although I have boldly given the warning time and time again, to make their way back to Jesus, the choice is still in their hands.  James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” I know for sure, that this is what they need to do but all I can do, at this point, is to love them and pray for them. Pray that they will come back to Jesus. Pray that they will put their hope and trust in God the Father. Pray that they will recognize that it is not by might, nor by power, but only by the Spirit of God that they can live a life filled with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Father God, may I never give up praying for those I love, those who have left You and needs to find their way back. They’ve been blinded by the struggles that they face almost daily, just racking it up to “Well, that’s life!” Our lives are meant to be so much more and they can only be so with You. Holy Spirit, be relentless in Your pursuit of those I love, that they will sense Your presence when You are near and heed Your voice as You lead and guide them back to Jesus. In Jesus’ Name…Amen!