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Sanctuary Beach, California

Have you ever been in a virtual storm?  A virtual storm is when you are “Tossed and driven on the restless seas of time.” (verse from, “Leave it there)  A virtual storm makes a person feel like  the bottom has dropped from their life.  When you are in a storm, what you crave is peace, stability and predictability.  At the very least, what you may seek is an anchor, something that can keep a boat from blowing off in to the wind.

When a person stands at an altar and pledges love and loyalty for life, but then grapples with the reality of a pending divorce, it can seem like they are in the middle of a storm.   Financial ruin and the inability to pay regular, personal and household expenses can make a person feel like they are in a storm.  Drug and alcohol addiction can cause not only the addicted, but families and loved ones to feel like they each are in a storm.  Which brings me to my point:  if you are in the midst of a storm and you came across a place that calls itself, “Fair Havens”, why would you not stop and at least give it a chance to offer you peace, tranquility and stability to your life?

This is what happens to the Apostle Paul while on board of a ship bound for Rome.  Paul is escorted by a Roman soldier named, Julius.  Luke, the writer of the Book of Acts of the Apostles, describes the trip as rough and dangerous:  “The winds  were against us.”

27 When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, they transferred Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius. Embarking on a ship of Adramyttium that was about to set sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul kindly, and allowed him to go to his friends to be cared for. Putting out to sea from there, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us[1]

Whipped and worn by the wind and the sea, the captain of the ship directed the boat to sail around the southern part of Crete in the hopes that the island would block the storm and make passage easier.  When they approached the far western end of Crete, they came to a port called, Fair Havens.  The captain made a decision to sail past Fair Havens.  The account in the Book of Acts says that he believed the port was not suitable to stay throughout the winter.

Acts 27: Sailing past it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea. [2]

My question for the captain and a majority of persons on the ship Paul was on board is simply this:  if you are caught in a storm and come upon a place called, “Fair Havens”, why would you not stop?  Listen to the account in Acts why they did not stop, even though Paul tried to reason with them:

Since much time had been lost and sailing was now dangerous, because even the Fast had already gone by, Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Sirs, I can see that the voyage will be with danger and much heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12 Since the harbor was not suitable for spending the winter, the majority was in favor of putting to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, where they could spend the winter. It was a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest. [3] (Acts 27)

 

Sometimes we make decisions similar to those on board that ship – we go through a storm, come to a “Fair Haven”, but choose to press on into the storm rather than take our rest.  Think about the “Fair Haven’s” we walk away from:  church, family, friends, and more.  Most of the homeless people I have met in Detroit, Michigan all have family.  If pressed, many will tell you that they either have burned their bridges or are so embarrassed that they do not feel they can return home – so, they sail past the “Fair Haven” and continue into the storm.  Has there ever been a time in your life when you sailed past a “Fair Haven”?  The ultimate “Fair Haven is Jesus Christ.  The choice is yours.  You can either choose the “Fair Haven” of the Lord, or press on with a hard head into the storm that awaits you.

 

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about sailing past a “Fair Haven”?
  2. What is it about Jesus that offers you and me a “Fair Haven”?

 

Prayer:

Lord, I come to you today with a prayer for inner peace.  Sometimes the storms of life seem more than one can bear.  The road can be rough, people can be mean, options sometimes seem so slim, yet through it all you provide a road map to peace, a road map to joy, a road map to prosperity.  Lord, in you I have found a “Fair Haven.”  In you, I have found fulfillment and satisfaction.  Bless me now with meaning and purpose.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ac 27:1–4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ac 27:8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ac 27:9–12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.