There is a method of Bible study that looks at Scripture in a symbolic or picture form. This method paints illustrations for us of various kinds. For example, there is an often-used incident in the gospels where the disciples begin a journey from one side of the Sea of Galilee to the other. While on their way, their boat was in the midst of the sea tossed by the waves. Now here is how that can be applied to our lives. There are times when we as Christians are tossed by the waves of life. David declared that he at times felt “tossed up and down”.
Do you remember Paul’s “prosperous journey” to Rome? It’s recorded in Acts 27 and 28. Paul eventually did get to Rome, but no doubt it was not the way he had expected! Many times God patiently reveals to us that His faithfulness4 is displayed in the most unpredictable ways.
Paul and the ship he was on was “exceedingly tempest-tossed”. As I began to meditate on the word “tossed” a couple of other Biblical passages were found that reveal some sources of tossing. One is bad doctrine devised by manipulative, crafty messengers. You can know that a saint who is not grounded in the word of God will be a tossed saint. It is vital that we be people who cherish God’s word, and desire to be doers of it.
Yes, false doctrine will cause you to be insecure, feeling condemned and fruitless, because you never really are told where you stand with God. But God’s Word says that “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand”. So the truth is that in Christ we all stand as co-workers by faith, no longer condemned, but free to serve our Lord.
Another “tossed” verse is found in James 1:6 which, ironically, likens a believer who asks for wisdom with unbelief to a wave of the sea, reminiscent of Paul’s ship in the storm. So then, two certain areas that birth that “tossed” feeling are bad doctrine and unbelief.
Once again, turning to Paul’s situation, we find what kept him stable in the midst of the storm and frantic people. Look at Acts 27:25. Here is a simple solution for us as well. Place the appropriate portion of Scripture alongside your storm, and when the winds blow and the waves pound your mind and stir up your circumstances, declare in child-like faith as Paul did, “I believe God that it shall be just as it was told me.”
When we know in whom we have believed, we can be persuaded that even what the enemy may mean for evil, God is working for good.