Above the Waves – The Word, Part 1



You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. – Psalm 92:4 (NLT)

Have you ever asked the Lord to simply thrill you with something? Did He do it? Has He ever just completely knocked your socks right off? He has thrilled me multiple times, but at our retreat several weeks ago, I must say, it was one thrill after another! Last week I told you about the incredible worship we experienced while at the retreat and this week I want to share with you some the instruction we received while there.

I would venture to say that every woman in attendance received a specific word from the Lord. No, I mean it, literally! Not only did we all learn from the in-depth study of God’s Word, but we each received a word from God. Let me explain.

During our first evening of teaching, our speaker, Debbie Stuart, encouraged each of us to ask the Lord for a specific word from Him – one word. Then, as we opened up God’s Word, He began to speak to each of us personally. By the end of our trip we all received specific words from the Lord.

The theme of the retreat was Above the Waves, and our guiding verse was Hebrews 6:19 which says,

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.

Debbie began by talking about shipwrecks that happen in our lives. You know, those things that seemingly destroy our plans and purposes. We used Paul’s voyage and shipwreck in Acts 27-28 as the passage from which to draw many truths about the shipwrecks and storms of life.

What we learned is that …

  • God appoints shipwrecks.
  • Your storm isn’t hindering your destiny; it is helping you get to it.
  • Everything is connected. Don’t draw conclusions based on what you see or based on “the facts” right now.
  • Pray for providence. Providence is God’s divine care, control, and guidance over a life, situations, and circumstances, making you ready for future events.
  • Listen and pay attention to what you hear and then obey God!
  • Take courage and believe God! He is able.
  • God causes extraordinary ministry to come from extraordinary tragedy.

Verses to consider during times of shipwrecks are:

  • Romans 12:12 – Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
  • Psalm 119:1-3 You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right – you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. (The Message)

God had a purpose for Paul. He was to be a witness for Christ and to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. But along His life journey, Paul encountered countless storms and shipwrecks, both literal and figurative.

In Acts 27-28 we see the principles that Debbie taught unveiled in Paul’s journey to Rome. God, the keeper of the winds and the waves, the sovereign Creator, indeed appointed this shipwreck along Paul’s journey. Why? We don’t always get to know God’s why, but we can assume that there was much that Paul and those on board the vessel needed to learn about God. In this instance we see that the shipwreck that God appointed did not hinder his destiny, but rather helped him reach it. Paul’s purpose in this journey was to get to Rome so he could be cleared of the charges brought against him but ultimately so he could preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ for two years in Rome without hindrance (Acts 28:30-31). And he did!

Paul could have very easily looked at the facts regarding his circumstances and chosen to give up or at the very least predict what might happen. But we don’t see that he did this at all. Rather, we see that each and every time he chose to “take courage and believe God for great things” (Acts 27:25) even in the midst of challenging and even life-threatening circumstances.

Along the many journeys of Paul’s ministry, he learned of the providence of God. He learned that everything is connected. He learned that God doesn’t waste a single thing in our lives. He uses them all for His glory. God, indeed, takes divine care of the circumstances and situations of our lives. We see down the street, but He sees around the corner. Because of His ability to foresee, God providentially guides us through the storms of life and into calm waters giving us times of rest and refreshment along the way.

Just today I saw the providence of God in my own life …

The Lord has given me an assignment. I know what I am to do, but I am afraid. I want to see the outcome. I want to know every twist and turn along the way. I want God to plot my ship’s course and show me the nautical chart. BUT He’s not going to do that. Why? Because if He did, I would tend to take the helm of the ship myself and chart my own course and destiny rather than stay ever so close to God along my journey. Rather than depending on Him to be the captain of my ship, I would take control.

So today, in my Life Group the Lord gently reminded me of this truth. He reminded me that I need to stop asking Him how and start obeying what I already know to do. What I heard Him say in my heart was, “Do what I’ve told you to do and stop worrying about the outcome. I have the outcome. I’ve told you I’ve got this. Take courage. Believe me. Obey me.”

As our Life Group discussed this topic, I sat very quietly. I just listened. Already feeling convicted and knowing that God was talking directly to me on this subject, I resigned to keep quiet and take it all in. All of a sudden someone spoke up and said, “This is so true, and Jacqueline has used this illustration several times previously in class. God isn’t going to give us the blueprint. He wants us to trust Him for the outcome.” I laughed out loud! God wanted me to get it so badly and so boldly that He used my own words to convince (and convict) me! That is God’s providence! He cares about every detail and orchestrates, plots out and guides us to the harbor, if we will listen and obey His voice. I decided right then that I would go home, ask God to forgive me, and stop asking for the how and start looking to the who (HIM)!

I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled that He does this for me. I don’t love the shipwrecks or the storms, but I love and trust the One whom the waves and winds obey and that is enough for me. Actually, He’s more than enough!

You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. – Psalm 92:4 (NLT)

Next week we’ll talk about the four anchors that keep us from crashing into the rocks. Debbie shared some wonderful truths with us on this subject, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Until next week … keep your eyes above the waves, look to Jesus, and keep on sailing!