Looking from the perspective of what we are taught in most churches today, many of the unfortunate things that happen to us are said to be from the Devil. A high percentage of Christians attend church services because they feel the Devil is chasing them from pillar to post; some attend church services because they have been told that the man in-charge has mastered or is an expert in dealing with the Devil. You will also agree with me that most of the prayer lines have a lot to do with what they say the Devil is doing; therefore we are required to and have been trained to bind and loose. As a result of these teachings, the Church has become more Devil conscious than become God conscious.
The one question that would then come to our mind is: who brought the storm in this story? The Bible never told us or stipulate that the storm was brought by the Devil. NO, it didn’t say so. Hence, we are not allowed to read into the story lest we add to the sacred good Book. The Apostle didn’t have to pray to bind any Devil like some would have thought but he was calm as the storm approached knowing there would be a shipwreck. In fact, the Apostle said that the ship would be destroyed but no life would be lost.
Did God know about the shipwreck? YES. Did God allow the shipwreck? YES. Could it have been avoided? YES. According to Paul, they sailed out due to their ignorance. Had they listened to the Apostle, they would have avoided the shipwreck. Paul had been in almost two or more shipwrecks and he knew from the weather that it wasn’t a good time to sail but they refuted his advice because they thought he didn’t know what he was talking about. When we drive on the wrong side of the road and are penalized by the police (as in penalty for offence committed), it’s not the Devil but our ignorance giving to us its dividends.
The businessman could have done better only if he were aware of the information he needed; the trader could have done better only if he/she knew better; the Pastor/Teacher could have taught better than what he taught only if he knew what to teach and the many examples that can be cited. There is nowhere in the Scriptures where we were promised of a smooth journey; we have to go through challenges, situations and circumstances to become the better person we desire to be. We were inundated from the Scriptures through Isaiah that, we are going to go through the fire and be overwhelmed by the waters but when we go through these with God we have been assured that the fire would not burn us neither would we be drowned by the overwhelming waters.
The Apostle advised his son Timothy to study to show himself approved. How? By rightly dividing the Word of God to avoid shame. He also told Timothy not to be naïve, “that there are going to be difficult times ahead; as the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. STAY CLEAR OF THESE PEOPLE. These are the kind of people who smooth-talk themselves into the homes of unstable and needy women and take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness, take up with every new religious fad that calls itself “truth.” They get exploited every time and never really learn. These men are like those old Egyptian frauds Jannes and Jambres, who challenged Moses. They were rejects from the faith, twisted in their thinking, defying truth itself. But nothing will come of these latest impostors. Everyone will see through them, just as people saw through that Egyptian hoax.”
We have also heard so many times of this ERROR taught in the Church that people should come to God so that they can have a smooth ride and journey throughout life. From this story, there must be a storm because there is always one or more reasons for the storm coupled with the fact that those in the storm would learn a lesson that they can never read about anywhere. The Journey with Paul should never be a smooth one. We would suffer for the sake of the Gospel.
The STORM does not make you who you are, it reveals who you are.
Your SALVATION does not exonerate you from the raging STORM. We can always trust God in the storm is one of the lessons we can learn from in this story. It’s either we are in a storm or we know people going through a storm. And the best we can do is to encourage the person going through the storm or we glean from the Word of God until the storm subsides or calms down. Storms bring us face to face with the reality of what is happening. Jumping out of the storm is not necessarily the solution to the storm, what happens when we jump out of every storm in our lives?
There was another small boat attached to the ship and some of the sailors on the big ship wanted to jump on it in disguise of saving the big ship, not knowing they were looking for a man-made escape route. Apostle Paul warned that if they tried it, it would be futile for them; they eventually would lose their lives. The many teachings in the Church today: the motivational speeches, the psychology we teach, prosperity gospel, health and wealth gospel, mind science, the self-help teachings are the many ways devised and concocted by men and seen as the backdoor as far as this Apostle is concerned. Paul’s advice at this time is to refrain lest we board another ship heading for a rough voyage – a voyage without Paul.
To trust more in your feelings, experiences and leadership authority (as in who said and what was said) when it is crystal clear that they are all in opposition to the different sound doctrines thought by Paul is to be far from Jesus, more so God. The sailors listened and stayed in the big ship with 276 people aboard and eventually they all got to land and were rescued; not one person lost his/her life.
Paul’s advice to Timothy – who represents the Pastor/Teacher or leader today, is: don’t be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, His prisoner. Take your share of the suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all His idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus. This is the Message I’ve been set apart to proclaim as a preacher, emissary, and teacher. It is also the cause of all this trouble I’m in. But I have no regrets. I couldn’t be surer of my ground—the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what He’s trusted me to do right to the end. So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.
When we rightly divide the Word of God according to the Apostle who in all of his epistles said (18 times) he is the Apostle to the Church, we would be sailing with Paul and indeed there would be no loss of life. For all that sailed and WILL SAIL with Paul are assured of safety.
“I believe certain doctrines because God says they are true; and the only authority I have for the truth is the Word of God. I receive such and such doctrines, not because I can prove them to be compatible with reason, not because my judgment accepts them, but because God says they are true. Now this is one of the best services we can render to God — to submit ourselves to Him in our belief of what He has revealed, and ask Him to fix His truths in our hearts, and make us obey them” – C. H. Spurgeon.