And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
What had taken away their hope as they faced that storm on the sea? It was mostly their circumstances and their view of what was happening. It seemed hopeless. It looked bad. But approaching it that way meant they were only going by what they could see. They saw how dire and how dangerous it was. They were at the whims of the winds and the sea. But they hadn’t considered who ultimately controls those things in the first place.
Paul was able to have peace because he trusted the God behind the storm and the God behind the clouds. He knew that though the sun and stars were hidden, they were still there. But more than that, he knew that no matter how it may have seemed just then with that powerful storm shaking up their world and threatening their lives, God was with him. It can be hard to endure those storms that come along, but we can endure them with hope when we look beyond them and what we can see to the God we can know even if we can’t see Him.
What kinds of things do we allow to take away our hope? What kinds of circumstances come into our lives that cause us to doubt God or lose our faith in Him? What kinds of things can happen to us that will draw us into a hopeless despair? There are many kinds of situations that seem overwhelming and unbearable if we are basing our judgment only on what we can see. But the truth is, there is a bigger picture that we can’t always see. And there is a much bigger God beyond our vision who sees and knows and is with us in all of those situations.
We need hope, and it can be such a powerful thing, but the storm illustrates that we cannot find our hope only in what we see. Sometimes it is what we see that causes us to lose our hope. But if we’re trusting in God, we must know that He controls the wind and the waves. They are not forces that act on their own accord. In the same way, the storms of our lives are not happening apart from God’s knowledge of them or His will for our lives. So let’s not lose our hope in the midst of hard times, but may we continue to trust our God who upholds us and cares about us. Let us keep our eyes on God and hope in Him in the hopeless situations of life.