The Lord’s Expectations For You

The Lord helps those who help themselves. –???

The most famous Bible verse. Except…it’s not in the Bible. At least not that way. But it is true, nonetheless.

Take the story of Paul on his trip to Rome.

The sailors took one day of good weather as a sign and left a safe harbor to continue on their way hoping to make it to Italy before winter.

We do a lot of that hoping, right? We think we see a sign, but we don’t see the signs. We confuse praying with intention for God to bring someone or something into our lives with wrapping hopes into prayer. We forget that it does no good for God to bring something into our lives if we are not prepared for it. He could bring me a client, but if I have not prepared myself with expertise to help that client then it is all for nothing.

So, like any good drama (and Luke does a really good job of telling the story in Acts 27), they get just far enough away from the safe harbor to be committed to continuing when the wind changes. Instead of gentle southerly winds furious winds from the northeast blow in.

The ship is driven helplessly for two weeks before the wind. Without their GPS (which I suppose they left at Crete), they had no idea where they were. Let’s stop a second. Think of it. Two weeks on a small ship, winds howling, waves crashing, without eating because of the fear.

Then Paul tells them to eat something because they will need their strength. He tells of an angel from his god who appeared to him. He was told that everyone on the ship would be saved. That must have gotten a laugh.

They saw land ahead. One last hope. The prepared the ship to run aground on the beach. Oops, there was a protective reef. The ship hit that. Broke apart in the waves.

Can you imagine being in a wooden ship that is breaking apart? The wave are so high and strong that they could destroy a ship. And now you have to jump in.

But every person was saved. Everyone made it to the beach. Did God lift them up and miraculously transport them to the beach? Noooo. Some swam. Some grabbed planks of wood and floated in.

The Lord did help those who helped themselves. He puts us in a situation. He expects us to act.

I’m in that situation now. I bet you are, too. Or have been.

That is our  spiritual discipline. Studying and praying, we prepare ourselves for the times God puts us in a ministry or other situation and says, “Go for it.” And we are ready to go to work.

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