Sailing the Seven C's - Claim God's Word

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For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
— Acts 27:23-25

After encouraging his fellow sailors and ensuring them of their safety, Paul explains how he knows all will be well. First, he urges them to not be afraid, which I imagine caused a few looks of ridicule and even caused some men to question Paul’s sanity. But he clarifies why and how they can have peace despite the raging storm. God had sent an angel and told Paul that all the people would be saved, and the word of the angel was enough for Paul. Catch that phrase, “I believe God.” Hallelujah!

How much different would our lives be if we made that statement every time doubt came knocking at our door? How much easier would it be to stand fast if we didn’t allow the waves of fear to shake us because we believe in the One who reigns over the rain? When was the last time you stood up to your feelings of insecurity, disappointment, and despair and said, “I know things look bleak, but I believe God, and I know we’ll get through this”?

Jason and I had an interesting conversation about my anxiety a few days ago. On the whole, my anxiety has improved over the past year, but there are still days (and sometimes even weeks) where it grips me so hard I can barely function. As I tried to explain this to my understanding husband, I realized something. I have a wild imagination. My thought process is creative and unique. And, as a writer and speaker, the creativity and unhindered imagination are wonderful attributes to have. However, my mind seems to have no “off” switch, nor does it have a lever that I can flip so that only positive thoughts run wild. The same brain that creates devotions from everyday events and weaves stories of intrigue and adventure also contrives some of the darkest nightmares and scariest scenarios. A simple walk in the woods can turn into a horrendous bear attack with blood and screams and hopelessness. That’s the downside of creativity, I guess. It doesn’t distinguish between good and bad, positive and negative, hopeful and hopeless.

But here’s the thing: those thoughts and feelings are not now nor will they probably ever be real. Most of the things my mind comes up with are events that haven’t happened and most likely never will. It’s just my imagination running wild and taking my feelings along for the ride. But it’s during those times more than ever that I need to return to what is true. I have to look beyond what I feel to what I know. For the sake of my sanity and overall well-being, I must turn to God’s Word.  

And, if you noticed the wording I used at my title, “Claim God’s Word.” Claim it. Don’t just read it. Don’t simply recite it. Don’t merely memorize it. All of those things are admirable, but they will do us little good if we don’t claim it. We need to take God’s promises and say, “Here’s what God said, and I believe it!” We should tell ourselves that over and over until we finally get it. We should tell our fears. We should tell Satan. We should tell anyone and everyone who will listen. I BELIEVE GOD!

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
— Numbers 23:19

Why can we trust God? Because he’s not like us. He doesn’t twist the truth when it’s convenient or tell us only what we want to hear. He doesn’t make empty promises or waste words. If He said it, it’s true. It is not in His nature to lie. He is truth itself (John 14:6); therefore, it is impossible for Him to say or do anything untrue. His promises can be trusted.

So, because God said in Jeremiah 29:11 that He intends peace and not evil toward us, we can know that whatever storm we’re facing is not God’s idea of a cruel joke.

When He promised in Romans 8:28 that all things would work together for good for those who love God, He meant all things, including the current storm.

Since He assured us repeatedly throughout the Scriptures that He would never leave us or forsake us, we can trust that we’re never alone no matter how lonely we may feel in the midst of our trial.

Every promise. Every word. Every assurance. It’s all true, and we can put our trust in that. We can’t count on our intelligence or our strength to get us through. Those things fail. But God’s Word never fails. It is forever settled in Heaven, and it is never-changing. Trust. Claim. Stand up, face your storm, and shout with conviction, “You cannot destroy me because I believe God!” Then watch in wonder as the God of the storm does what only He can do. Watch Him fulfill His promises to you.