”For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1 NASB).
Friend To Friend
It was supposed to be a sailing adventure for Loran and his youth group at Central Church. His friend procured three sailing vessels that resembled the Niña,Pinta and the Santa Maria. I’m not sure how much they looked like the ships that came across the Atlantic with the pilgrims, but they seemed just about as old.
When they left the dock, the sky was blue, the wind was brisk, and the teenagers were ready to ford the sea. However, by nightfall, a threatening gale blew in and the rolling waves grew to fifteen foot walls of water, tossing the tiny boats like toys in a toddlers tub.
“Loran,” the captain said, “This storm could mean big trouble for us. You’re going to have to stay up all night and hold the wheel steady to keep the boat on course.”
So all-night, Loran fought the storm. He kept alert. He prayed to the One who calms the seas and kept his eyes on the sailboats in front of him, one of which held two of his most prized possessions: his daughters. Hundreds of times, the boat shot straight into the air and then dashed into the inky water. But Loran held fast. It was a battle he was determined to win.
In the wee hours of the morning, the wind and rains came to a halt. The storm had passed, and once again the boats cut a smooth path across the glassy sea. Everyone was exhausted from the rollicking of the night before, so the team decided to look for a lagoon to drop anchor and rest. One was found, and the three sailing vessels stopped for a few hours of rest and relaxation in the safety of the cove.
Loran jumped into the cool crystal blue water and suddenly realized how tired he was from the struggle of the night before. He turned over on his back, closed his burning eyes, and began to float. Slowly the knots in his neck and back began to unwind and tension escaped from his aching muscles. The noises of the teens playing in the water were soon muffled and the only sound he heard was water splashing against his skin and the occasional call of a sea gull. He was so relaxed he almost drifted off to sleep as his body drifted out to sea.
After some time, Loran looked up and noticed that he had drifted a great distance away from the rest of his party. They were playing happily in the water and had no idea Loran was gone.
“OK, Lord. Help me get back,” he prayed.
Loran swam and swam, fighting the water with all his might, but the receding tide was stronger than he was. After what seemed like a lifetime, Loran was still a mile or so from his friends and family.
“Help!” he cried. But no one heard his distant cry.
“Oh God! Don’t let me die now.”
Somehow, Loran finally made it back to the boat alive. As he lay panting on the deck, he realized a great truth. Over the past twenty-four hours, he had been in great danger two times – once battling the storm and the other drifting out to sea. But of the two, he was in more danger when he was carelessly drifting along than he was when he was alert and standing fast.
God spoke to me by Loran’s story. Paul tells us in Hebrews 2:1 “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not we drift away from it.” Carelessly drifting can be a dangerous business, but storms keep us alert and ready at the helm. I need to be alert at all times, and be careful not to drift aimlessly along but listen as God speaks to me through the course of life.
Dear Father, help me to always be alert. I know that the devil roams around like a roaring lion looking for those who are aimlessly drifting through life. He sneaks in when we least expect it. Help me never get so comfortable with my life that I drift aimlessly along rather than stay alert to the changing winds and tides – holding fast to You in the storms of life and in the calm seasons as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Can you think of a time when you were caught off guard by a temptation or by the devil?
How would you describe your spiritual life at the time…alert and on course or drifting?
What do you think could have made the difference in your ability to see the temptation coming?
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God bless you and your ministry.