Persist, persist, persist...

Dear Church Family,

This week's newsletter has been written by Stephen & Heidi Alderdice. They write:

My family owes a great deal to the freedoms that travel has afforded us in the past. If it weren’t for those freedoms, I would not have been free to serve in short-term mission work in Brazil where I met Heidi. If it weren’t for those freedoms, it would have been challenging to even build a relationship with Heidi or to marry and for our family to be together in the UK. It is safe to say that in this season, the restrictions on movement have some resonance for us and for our family abroad.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Now, simply because we had the freedom to travel, didn’t always make travel easy. At times during our dating, it seemed as if the created order itself was conspiring against our travel plans. Just when we were due to travel, we had events such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, airline strikes, and other potential showstoppers arise; I even recall a Christmas where I managed to board the last flight out of western Europe due to a big freeze. In God’s mercy, we always made our flight. Travel has always been a precarious business. We read an account in Acts 27 where Paul, having been arrested and put on a ship to testify before Caesar, was shipwrecked in a monstrous storm. I would like to share with you a word of encouragement, especially if like Paul you are experiencing a storm in your life today.

In the passage in Acts, we read how Paul, in spite of being a prisoner, was given favour and influence with the ship’s officers and his life was protected from harm. He foretold the disaster ahead (v10). He offered words of encouragement to the crew; and when all hope was gone, he testified to the Lord’s faithfulness (v22). He nourished the crew (v34). Finally, clinging to the debris of a wrecked ship, all 276 crew and prisoners escaped to shore (v44), just as the Lord promised through Paul.

You see, when the Lord has a calling on your life, He uses it to bless others, not just you. The Lord not only blessed and protected Paul, but He blessed the prison guards, the captain of the ship, He even blessed the other prisoners – all on account of Paul’s calling. Only three months after his shipwreck, the Lord had Paul boarded on a new ship to Rome. God not only wants to bless you but also your household, your colleagues, your circle. If God had simply brought Paul’s ship safely into dock, the captain would be congratulated. When every single man, woman, and child comes to dry land safely, floating on pieces of broken ship, the glory of the Lord is manifest.

Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

Perhaps today you are in a storm experience, maybe you are even clinging to the fragments or what was your security. Whether it is a storm in your finances, your health, or your family, or if like Paul you are in some form of imprisonment, the Bible tells us that even and especially in our storm experience, we have a calling on our lives when we are believers.

“As a prisoner of the LORD, I plead with you to walk holy, in a way that is suitable to your high rank, given to you in your divine calling. “ (Ephesians 4:1 TPT)

Our calling is given to us by God, mostly for the benefit of others.