• Jill Jarrell Newsome


Most everyday on vacation I have sailed the resorts hobie cats. This week sailing has been one of my favorite things. Partly because I love being out in the sea by the reefs watching the sea life. And partly because it brings me back to my childhood when we spent weekends on our sailboat anchored in the waterway. I remember the gentle rock of the boat that put me to sleep and hearing the string and metal tapping the mast. And my favorite was hearing the water lap against the side of the boat. As we sailed this week I was reminded when the wind changes direction the boom changes sides and you better watch out so it does not hit you or knock you off the boat! In life we know there will always be change, in fact, the only permanent thing in life is change. We can either let the wind help us with our efforts or we can go against it and let it drag us and eventually wear us down.

Sailing can be very peaceful but there have been times that I have been caught in a terrible thunder and lightening storm on the water and it was scary. Change can make us stronger or blow us away. Problems and trials in relationships can make you closer or destroy the relationship. An illness or injury can make you closer or destroy your spirit In your career. Our response determines a lot!

Today I was thinking about the disciples. Acts 27: 14-15, "Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island.  The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along." I am sure the disciples were trying to fight the hurricane force winds. They tried to sail into the storms to find a calm center. But I am sure it did not take long to realize you cannot stop a storm in progress.

Acts 27: 20, "When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved." Now I know how scared I was in a cabin in a boat for two hours! They had no cabin. And we are told there was no sun or stars for MANY days! AND the storm continued raging! Of course, they lost hope because they could not see the end of the storm. I have had a year like that - the storms keep raging and dark clouds swirl around over your head. You feel like losing hope.

Paul was the only one on board who did not lose hope because he chose to look past the storm. He knew that past the raging waters and hurricane force winds there would be a positive change. We can learn from Paul’s example; he remained calm in the midst of the crisis. He was the only one on board who stayed confident because he chose to look beyond the storm. He could see beyond the raging waters and gale-force winds to an upcoming, positive change.

We have free will, therefore, God does not cause these changes in our lives but He uses them to bring good out of the bad situation. He grows our character and makes us stronger during the tough times. Acts 27: 18, "We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard." Think of all of the cargo that was considered "precious" when it was packed. But when they thought the ship might sink they decided to unload things that were not tied down. That cargo no longer had the same value to them!

Storms make us reprioritize our lives.

Acts 27: 29, "Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight." While we may have to ride out a storm the best thing we can do is to drop anchor! An anchor will hold us steady and not let us be thrown around.

Our anchor is Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Everything else may change but God will not. Hebrews 13: 8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

Is God your anchor?