Paul and his shipmates were in a boatload of trouble (sorry for the pun). In the midst of the sea, they were overtaken by a horrific storm, and no matter what they did, their situation seemed to only get worse. They found themselves in a helpless and hopeless situation. Their efforts were in vain. Nothing was working. Nothing seemed to help. The situation was out of their hands. All they could do was cry for help.
Poor little Tippy knows exactly how they felt. Wednesday evening, Jason and I were scrambling to get out the door in order to make it to church on time. We were doing well, but then there was a phone call. While I was taking care of the call, there was a knock at the door. I was on the phone. Jason was at the door. And both of us were trying to extricate ourselves from the conversations so that we could continue gathering our stuff and get going. The result was a hurried escape from the house, hoping that we had remembered to grab everything we needed.
During the church service, I was assaulted by a great sense of unease. I realized that I hadn't seen Tippy when we left for church. She's always waiting at the door to see us off, but I didn't remember her being there. In my panic, I wondered if she had slipped out the door (as she is prone to do) while Jason was talking with our visitor. I worried that she may be outside, unable to get back in. I leaned over to Jason and voiced my concern. He assured me that he didn't think she was outside, but my fears didn't subside.
When we arrived home that evening, Mitch met us at the door. Tippy was nowhere to be seen. Panic gripped my heart anew but was immediately silenced by a mournful cry coming from the back of the house. In our hustle and bustle, Tippy had gotten closed in my office. Evidently, she followed me in there when I was on the phone. I never noticed her. She had probably settled down on her pillow underneath my desk--her preferred spot in my office. Unaware of her presence, I closed the door when I exited the room. She had been locked in there alone all night. No food (although she had already had dinner). No water. No bathroom access. No people. No brother. Nothing! She was helpless and hopeless, and in her despair, all she could do was cry out for help. "Let me out of here!"
I, too, can relate to Paul's situation, for I often find myself in helpless and hopeless situations. No matter what I do, no matter how hard I work at solving the problem, my efforts seem in vain. The situation seems to only worsen. The wind knocks me to my knees, and the crashing waves reverberate in my chest. Panic takes over, and I finally realize that the situation is out of my hands. I have no control, and all I can do is cry out for help. "Lord, let me out of here!" And the Lord, in His tender mercy and compassion says, "Not yet, child. I finally have you where I want you."
You see, before we can be mended, we must be broken. Before we can be rescued, we have to admit that we need rescuing. Before we can be filled with peace and joy, we must be emptied of fear and our own desires. I've said it many times, but evidently, I need to say it many more: Sometimes the Lord has to put us in a place where all we can do is look to Him, for it's in those helpless, hopeless circumstances that God performs some of His greatest miracles. Just ask Paul.