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Anchors and Sails

“Master! Don’t you care that we perish?”

It was the penultimate “dark and stormy night.” The disciples and their teacher had finished a long, arduous day of ministry, and were ready to leave the crowds behind and rest. But on route across the Sea of Galilee, their boats were beset by a violent storm that threatened to swamp them. Like the sailors in Acts 27, they would have been galvanized into action to save their vessel and their lives: cutting loose the anchor, untying the ropes that held the rudders, hoisting the foresail to the wind and desperately making for shore. 

And Jesus? Asleep, seemingly indifferent to their plight. 

All across the globe, our brethren are in danger of being swamped by the tempests that beset them. Persecution can be subtle and cruel, blatant and life-threatening, or cold and lonely.  It threatens their safety, their status, their freedom and their relationships. At times they may feel like echoing the wrenching cry of the disciples, “Master! Don’t you care?” Like good sailors, they know that any anchor – so valuable when stability is needed – is useless in a storm. God alone can hold them steady; all other sources of security must be cut loose. And the normal means of steering a course for their lives is abandoned as the Holy Spirit becomes the rudder that guides them. Resolutely, they raise a fragile sail of faith to face the shredding gale, and allow themselves to be driven. 

Many of our persecuted brothers and sisters are facing such trials as these, yet refusing to abandon ship. They are confident that God will have his way - his ultimate, highest, good and perfect way - through every circumstance. But sometimes, they cry out. And we cry out with them. 

Each November we intentionally identify with the persecuted global church, asking for Jesus to calm the waves and wind and bring these believers safely to shore. Pray for courage to cast aside comfort and safety, for the resolve to never give up and for the strength to hoist sails of hope, regardless of how long the storm lasts. 

Pray for peace, and for stillness in their souls.

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