I think we have a very serious situation coming up, perhaps coming up fast, taking many of us by surprise – although that should not be, since the Lord kept warning us “be ready” and he didn’t just mean for the Rapture.
No, I sense that shortly we will all feel like we are floundering, that we have been cast into a stormy sea.
There are only two places for people to be in the storm, either in the boat or in the sea. Which is it to be?
This is not the time for complacency, but for a genuine heart-searching as to your current position, and your expectations. How firm is your faith? How deep is your commitment to God? Are you unshakeable?
Few In The Boat
I see that some (perhaps fewer than we imagine) WILL be “in the boat” but they will be tossed about on the stormy waves, even so.
Tossed to and fro, maybe a bit scared, but at the same time assured of the protection of the little boat they have been on for years, holding firm in the storm, unmoved, and in full confidence of faith.
They will become the Rescuers, because the tragic sight all around the boat is screaming people in the water.
Some have life-jackets, some are still clinging to bits of rotting driftwood that are inadequate and swamped – but worse – some do not even have the smallest trace of safety to cling to.
What they relied upon when on the familiar safety of dry land is now failing them, and they made no provision for anything else.
The House Built on Rock
Jesus told a similar story about the man who dug deep foundations for his house and built it on the ROCK, so that when the storm came, it didn’t fall. Before the storm, both a house on rock foundation and a house on sand look identical, but it is the STORM that exposes the foundations.
Would it surprise you to discover that the situation of both these house-builders was the same, at first. They BOTH heard the words of Jesus (as we would say today, they went to church and read the bible).
Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Both these builders heard the word of God. The difference was in the execution of those words, not the hearing. James 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
Coasting along effortlessly, being a good Christian by watching teaching videos, attending Church, singing in the Choir, contributing to the rebuilding program – and all those things – these are useless without the truth penetrating your heart and making a practical and real difference.
Don’t just listen and nod, but DO what the bible says.
If Jesus says you CAN DO (by the Holy Spirit’s power within you) what he commands, then who are you to disagree? You are only deceiving yourself (as James said) if you think you are doing well as a Christian without paying any real heed to the commands of God, just doing what you please and getting away with it day by day.
Tragedy in the Waves
So, the little boat out on these stormy waters is like the rock foundation in the parable. Some will still be in the boat when the rain and flood comes along suddenly and takes us by surprise.
But they will have the distress of seeing many others struggling in deep water, not knowing where to turn.
What a heart-breaking and tragic situation, trying to reach those in need, trying to help them into the little boat, but not being able to reach the great majority.
Following the Pied Piper
It’s not just failing to heed and act upon the truths of the bible and the instruction of the Lord that causes this situation of being unprepared for disaster. It’s also depending for all your spiritual food on other people, instead of reading and “inwardly digesting” the word of God for yourself.
“Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. ” [Thomas Cranmer, one of God’s faithful Martyrs, 1489-1556]
We recognise of course there there will always be those, whom the Lord loves and cares for, who really are unable to reach maturity in the faith for various reasons. But most are fully capable! Sitting back in self-satisfied carelessness is the kind of attitude that earned the Laodicean church an undiluted REBUKE from Jesus, because they were able and expected by God to seek a better path.
So – this is just an image to ponder, and it will probably speak to people in different ways. I just pray for you and me that we are found in the boat not the water.