Acts 27:20-22, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: ‘Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.’”
Every Christmas, the words “peace, comfort, and joy” are plastered on cards, wrapping paper, and various decorative items. They’re strung up in lights, used in commercials, and sung in classic carols. But what about seasons that seem anything but that — when our hearts remain troubled, we feel discontent, or we’re overwrought with sadness or suffering? Is it enough to merely cry out to God? He hears and can definitely handle every burden! But at some point, we must shift our focus from the “Why is this happening…” to the “How can God use this?”
Our Heavenly Father gives us rest when we’ve grown weary, soothes our troubled hearts in the face of fear, and comforts us when we’re brokenhearted, but He never promises us a comfortable life! In fact, as Christ-followers, we can expect to deal with times of difficulty, opposition, and displeasure. Think about Paul, God’s faithful servant who boldly proclaimed the gospel to all who would listen, who endured numerous beatings and imprisonment. In Acts 27, he’s seemingly destined for doom on a prison transport ship as hurricane-force winds threaten the lives of everyone on board. Instead of focusing on the discomfort, succumbing to fear, or questioning God’s motives, Paul prayed and encouraged those around him. Through his leadership and God’s provision, not a single person on the ship died.
Just as God used Paul to bring hope to others on a sinking ship, He can use us and work through our difficulties to produce strength. No struggle is wasted when we offer it to God for His glory. Jesus, our Prince of Peace, lived, died, and rose again so that even amid our troubles, we could have “tidings of comfort and joy” this Christmas and in the days to come!
Lord, Fill me with Your peace in this season. Remind me to replace, “Why me?” with “What can God do with this?” I find comfort and joy in knowing that You are in control! In Jesus’ name, Amen.