I Timothy 1:19 ~ Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
I often question why I see people walking away from God. How one minute you can be upon the mountain and the next minute they’re at the lowest depths of the seas. I don’t understand how you can stand and praise God for all He’s done for you, how much He’s done in your life and then fail to mention Him, come to church or seem care about spiritual things. And then I realize that without God’s grace my faith could have been shipwrecked as well. I don’t ever want anyone to think that I am above failure in spiritual matters, lest I be the next one that falls. I heard someone say the other day that they would have gotten upset over someone spreading lies on them until they realized the lie wasn’t as bad as the reality the person didn’t know. Yea, I feel like that.
I haven’t suffered like Paul or any number of my friends; so I cannot say I understand their pain. I can say that I’ve witnessed saints of God in the face of horrific battles come out praising God. I’ve watched them do it quietly and I’ve watched them do it loudly. They had only One common thread running through their lives, Christ. He’s the reality check. Without Him, none of it would make sense. Paul had been literally shipwrecked, beaten within an inch of his life, jailed and abused and yet praises God through it all. Because Paul did his own reality check; he looked to Christ, and then lived his life through Christ. Paul’s scars were many, but not as many as the Lord’s. Paul had been forsaken, but not as many times as Christ. Christ had no sin and yet was willing to die in the place of all sinners; Paul had sinned, slain those who he now called brothers and sisters, could he not at least live for Christ. A reality check for me is the fact that any conversation I have with Paul or Christ when I get to Heaven will not start out with “Let me tell you what happened to me on earth…” No. I don’t think I’ll be showing them the scar of hurt feelings, career let downs, or any other of the many things that have happened in my life that I thought were devastating. They won’t compare. So my trivial excuses for allowing my faith to get shipwrecked won’t fly in the face of the reality of what Christ can do. He’s so much more than we give Him credit for.
A shipwrecked faith is a choice. And perhaps I should define “shipwrecked faith” as the abandonment of faith, not the doubt or temporary setback any one of us can experience. I’m talking walking out on God and never looking back. Those who do have to reason within their minds the choice they’ve made. But one reasoning I’ve yet to understand, and pray I never do is, how do you reason away the peace of God? Every trial I’ve been through draws me closer to Him because I know He alone is my Hope. So to walk away from that is leaving all hope behind, and is it not human nature to desire hope?
I guess this thought is heavy on my heart this morning because it’s Homecoming Sunday at our church. And I can’t help but think, just for a minute, on those who aren’t coming. Over the years we’ve lost so many who have walked out on God. Not gone to another church and served elsewhere, just quit! They chose to crash the ship of grace into the jagged rocks of despair. They could have landed the ship on the Rock of Jesus Christ Himself and He would have steadied the craft, but instead they got out of the boat and fought the waves on their own. Crazy, right? It may be a metaphor, but if you’re out of the boat, you know what I mean.
Come Home. Peace, Hope and Joy are waiting at the door.