Spiritual Sailing Part 6: Sailing through Stormy Weather

Psalm 107:23-30
      He commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

 MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): The truth as it is Jesus is more known in one deep trial than a year of smooth sailing.

 MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The Christian faith can be compared to a great ocean. A little child can paddle at the edge of the ocean, but away out in the centre, in the depths, the mightiest Atlantic liner is but like a cork or a bubble. There is no end to it, as it were. But it’s the same thing―it’s the same ocean. And thus, you see, we come into the Christian life, and we enter it as children. But we must go on and out into the depths.

 C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): All believers have not the same deep experience; but for wise ends, that they may do business for Him, the Lord sends some of His saints to the sea of soul-trouble, and there they see, as others do not, the wonders of divine grace. Sailing over the deeps of inward depravity, the waste waters of poverty, the billows of persecution, and the rough waves of temptation, they need God above all others, and they find Him.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): To make a good seaman, let him brace the storm: so the Christian.

 MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): A stranger, who had never seen it, would not think it possible for a ship to live at sea, as it will in a storm, and ride it out, but would expect that the next wave would bury it and it would never come up again…How seasonable it is at such a time to pray.

 C. H. SPURGEON: Prayer is good in a storm. We may pray staggering and reeling, and pray when we are at our wits’ end. God will hear us amid the thunder and answer us out of the storm, Psalm 107:24-31.

 JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): You that are seamen know of what the use of the pump is, when the waters leak into your ship, and of what use the scupper-holes are, when waves break and dash over your necks: why, of the same use is prayer, when sorrow leaks into your hearts, and distresses are ready to overwhelm your souls. This gives a vent to that which else would quickly sink you…Prayer will buoy up your fainting spirits; it will sensibly ease an oppressed heart.

 WILLIAM GURNALL: Be not troubled if thou art cast overboard, like Jonah, before thou seest the provision which God makes for thy safety: it is ever at hand, but sometimes out of sight, like Jonah’s whale, sent of God to ferry him ashore under water, and the prophet in his belly, before he knew where he was. That which thou thinkest come to devour thee, may be the messenger that God sends to bring thee safe to land.

 C. H. SPURGEON: We are like those at sea; the vessel is tossed but not wrecked, and never shall be. There is a great deal of water outside the vessel that tosses her to and fro, but we are clean pumped out. We bless God that we can know the meaning of that text, “Let not your heart be troubled.” The trouble is outside; it does not get into the heart. The Lord has helped us to get rid of that; we have laid our burden of sin and grief and woe at Jesus’ feet, and now that we have believed do enter into rest.

 JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The ship was safe when Christ was in her, though He was really asleep. At present I can tell you good news, though you know it; He is wide awake, and His eyes are in every place―the ark is fixed upon an immovable foundation; and if we think we see it totter, it is owing to a swimming in our heads. Seriously, the times look dark and stormy, and call for much circumspection and prayer; but let us not forget that we have an infallible Pilot, and that the power and wisdom and honour of God are embarked with us―both wind and weather are at His command, and He can turn the storm into a calm in a moment.

 ALEXANDER CARSON (1776-1844): It is God who raises the storm; it is God who stilleth it.

 WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): The proverb is, “He that would learn to pray, let him go to sea;” but I think it were better thus: He that would go to sea―by this, I mean of suffering―let him learn to pray before he comes there.

 JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): He that cannot pray, let him go to sea, and there he will learn.

 C. H. SPURGEON: What shall I say, then, in closing, but this, brethren and sisters? Are you troubled just now, and are you inclined to despair? Take wiser counsel; the storms that are beating about your barque are only such as beat about your Master’s vessel, and the ships and boats in which his apostles sailed across the sea of old. The storms are not supernatural; they are not beyond what believers in Jesus are able to bear. Put your vessel’s head to the wind, like a brave sailor; do not try to avoid that fierce blast. Sail in its very teeth, for there is a power within you which can overcome all the winds and the waves, for is not the Lord Himself with you as your Captain, and is not the Holy Ghost with you as your Pilot, and have you not a faithful God to trust to in the stormiest night you will ever know?


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