On April 8, 2009 there was a cargo ship heading for Mombasa Kenya. The Captain of the Ship was Richard Phillips. The ship consisted of twenty crew members. CNN breaks in with breaking news that this cargo ship had been boarded by modern-day pirates.
For those of you who know your geography, you know that the waters this cargo ship was sailing are known for piracy. Therefore, it makes sense that Captains and crew members who sail ships through this area are trained in how to handle an attack by pirates. It is through this training that the captain stepped up not letting the pirates get the best of him. It is also through this level of discipline that our trained armed forces were able to secure the release of the Captain and his crew. The Captain was not going to allow these pirates to take him and his crew down. Determination, diligence and focus are how this crew and all those involved in the rescue were able to help bring about a positive outcome.
There are times in our lives where pirates board our lives. Situations happen out of the blue where the intentions are to bring us down and hurt us. These pirates work with the pirates of negativity. Their goal is to attack, steal and see how far down they can bring us down. They are ambassadors for Satan. They love to see a ship go down in a blaze of glory. Much like the pirates who took that ship heading to Kenya, they are out for themselves and no one else.
When these pirates attack we have to remain focused, determined, disciplined, and diligent on how we respond. Just as the Captain and the crew were during those initial grueling hours of captivity, it is during these times when it is even more important that we stay focused on God’s word, hold tight to His hand and seek the good within the evil.
There are times, however, when we do the opposite. Something bad/evil happens and we take off running. We run looking for answers in other places rather than seeking the answer from God. For some reason, we feel as though God isn’t going to make the outcome a positive one and he just doesn’t work fast enough for us. Thus, we go wondering to the wrong things for the answers. It is when we do this we are allowing the pirates to take us down. We are allowing them to sink our ship.
Saul is an example of allowing pirates to sink his ship. He was God’s ( The Captain’s) choice of being the first king of Israel. Samuel was instructed by God to anoint Saul as king. However, as time went on Saul began to be disobedient to God. As a result, he began running and looking for answers outside of going to God, listening for God and trusting God. He went as far as looking for answers through mediums. Eventually, all of his running, disobeying God and seeking answers outside of God got the better of him. He reached the point where he could not see beyond where he was standing and deliberately fell on his sword and killed himself. He allowed the pirates of disobedience and hostility to take over his life and he went down not in a blaze of glory but in a glaze of tragedy.
There are going to be times when pirates are going to board our ship. They are going to try their best to take us down. It is in those moments we need to realize that no matter how horrible the pirate is treating us or the situation is going God will use the situation for good if we acknowledge him and allow him. The key is that we have to grab tighter to his hand. We have to trust our Captain and realize he is at work in the situation even though we feel as though he is not there. It is so important not to give into the temptation of running to other things and people looking for the answer(s) we think will fix the situation.
May we be like Captain Phillips when the pirates board our ship. May we stay focused on God and diligent on how we respond. Also, may we have the following scriptures inscribed on our hearts and say them repeatedly to ourselves as we face those grueling hours of what feels like captivity. If we do this there is NO WAY the pirates can take us down and steal our joy in the LORD.
“And we KNOW that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him.”
“I can do ALL this through him who gives me strength.”
In closing, I want to share a beautiful paragraph that is in my Life Application Bible. It sums up the theme of the book of Samuel. It is something I have copied into my notes and look at it when those ugly pirates try to board my ship and take me down. I encourage you to print it and put it somewhere to have as an affirmation during those times ugly pirates are boarding your ship.
“God is at work in this world, even when we can’t see what he is doing. No matter what
kinds of pressures we must endure or how many changes we must face, God is ULTIMATELY
in control of our situation. Being confident in God’s sovereignty we can face the difficult situations
in our lives with BOLDNESS.”