Matthew visited our good friend Stan recently, who shared one of the lessons that he felt God had taught him in life.
Stan described how, as an engineer serving in the merchant navy, his ship was buffeted by a violent storm outside Singapore to such an extent that the ship’s funnel was damaged and leaning over at a 45-degree angle, and all the lifeboats were swept away. Sounds scary! Thankfully, despite the damage, the ship made it safely into harbour, where the port authorities carried out the necessary repairs while Stan and his colleagues continued with their own duties.
As he has reflected on that experience over the years, Stan has realised that storms can be a metaphor for some of the challenges that we face in life, such as ill-health, loss and relational difficulties. But, he says, the harbour is also a valuable metaphor for the help we get in the middle of those storms. The Bible is full of examples of people facing the storms of life, and finding in God a safe harbour or refuge to protect them, even though the storm may still be raging. King David spoke of God as ‘my rock, in whom I take refuge’ (2 Samuel 22:3, and numerous Psalms). The disciples went to Jesus as a storm threatened to overwhelm their small boat, and found in him the authority to calm the wind and waves (Matthew 8:23-27). And the apostle Paul knew his fair share of storms, both literal and metaphorical. He often faced the storm of opposition to the Gospel message he proclaimed, and on one such occasion God reassured him with the words “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no-one will lay a hand on you to harm you…” (Acts 18:9-10).
When we encounter the storms of life, it is vital to seek safe refuge in God through prayer. As we spoke, Stan felt that some of us reading this message who are facing the inevitable storms of life may need to hear the words ‘Fear not… for I am with you… even in the middle of the storm.’
We pray that his encouragement will strengthen and protect you as you seek shelter with God in difficult times.
With our love and prayers
Matthew and Pauline (and Stan Bevan)