When I think of pirates, I immediately think of Johnny Depp. I’ve never even watched Pirates of the Caribbean, but I’ve seen his face with his eye patch and hat enough that HE is the pirate in my mind. I loved how Jonathan opened our chapter with his story about the pirates. I can just see a group of young men in their late teens, early 20’s, approaching an old pirate seeking adventure. The story about his stump leg, his hook, and his eye patch made me laugh. But through my laughter, I heard the story. As a woman who longs to know Christ better, I can relate to the pirates. We often approach our Christian lives with enthusiasm and excitement-much like the pirates in the story. But when the excitement fades and life gets hard, we wonder if it’s worth it. Have you been there? I have.
The last chapter we read was on finding supreme happiness. We learned about the Beatitudes and how they apply to our lives. Jesus was sharing about happiness. After following Jesus up the mountain of happiness, it turns out happiness is not the whole story! Jesus continued with the famous Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talked about what life would be like His way.
I love the second paragraph on page 51 as Jonathan describes the scene of Jesus on the mountain. “But Jesus was not into the numbers game. He did not depend on huge crowds for success, and He did not glory in His impressive following. He was more concerned that each follower came after Him for the right reasons, and that each one truly understood what he was getting into.” Jesus wants us to follow him because of who He is and what He came to do. He wants us to commit fully. And it’s not all fun and games. Our relationship with Christ reaches a pivotal point when we follow Him for the right reasons, when we determine to keep going even when we know it won’t be easy. When we follow him for the right reasons, it doesn’t matter how shipwrecked we are, what kind of wave is coming at us, or even whether we will reach the shore or not. We continue to follow Him because we KNOW who He is.
A story is told by Matthew in the Bible and records how the disciples had gone out with Jesus in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. Matthew tells us that a great storm came out of know-where (like they do here is Kansas, maybe?), and that it became violent quickly. As the boat is being tossed around and pounded with waves, the disciples go and find Jesus sleeping. I have to stop there and ask-Have you ever felt like you were being pounded with waves and wondered where Jesus was? Has life left you shipwrecked and you’re now wondering if Jesus even notices? Let’s be honest….I think we all have. Myselft included. There have been times in life when I’ve literally walked outside and yelled, “Hello!? Do you even see me? Do you care about what is happening here?” I can’t tell you that during those times all the Kansas wind stopped and that my problem was immediately solved. But what I can tell you is, somehow, someway, in those moments of wrecking my ship, God does reach out and lets me know he’s there. And suddenly in the midst of my storm, I have a calm. It’s not on the outside, it’s on the inside. It’s in my heart and in my mind.
I’ve never read anywhere in the Bible where Jesus tells us that following Him would be easy and free of storms. He did ask us to pick up our cross and follow him. I know this “Jesus-following” is not easy. But Jesus did promise us that it would be worth it.
Do you have a storm that could use some calming? Are you shipwrecked and wondering how you’re going to make it another day? Friend-let me encourage you to become a pirate for Jesus. A true follower, giving all you’ve got. You might end up with a stump leg, an eye patch, and a hook. It won’t be easy, but I can assure you it will be worth it. You are destined to encounter adventure you will never find on your own. And you’ll get through every storm on your boat called Life, and be better on the other side.
Let me pray for you today;
Father God, I lift up to you, each person reading this blog. And while I can’t see their face or touch their hand, Father You can. Lord as we walk through the storms of life, let us remember that you promised you’d never leave us for forsake us. Remind us that You are the calm in the midst of our storms. Jesus I pray that you would somehow today, give peace to those who are shipwrecked. Let them know that you are there. I ask that you’d give us the strength and courage to continue to follow you and long for your ways. Just as a pirate would climb aboard his ship, Father I pray that we would continue to walk with you. Lord, thank you for each person that has found you here. May they find your words and their hearts be full. I thank you for your grace and mercy and for allowing me to be part of your plan. Jesus thank you for hearing us and for answering our prayers. ~Amen