The darkness was so thick, you could cut it with a knife. Waves hit the side of the ship. They were hitting so hard, it felt like sledgehammers were pounding on the side of the ship.
They were in an area that wasn’t very tall: In fact, it was just a little over five feet tall. Children could stand up, but the adults had to lay down or crawl on their hands and knees for the most part.
The storm was worsening outside. It was so dark. Then they heard the water come over the side of the ship, and before long, it came through the hole and they were all drenched.
A History Lesson
About 402 years ago, Henry VIII had pulled out of the Catholic Church and established his own church: The Church of England. (We know it as the Epispicol Church today.) That was an opportunity for people that were concerned with the corruption in the church.
Now some of the people just wanted to continue on with their traditions and their formal church services just like they always had. the prescriptions, There were others, though, that were concerned about some of the things that were going on and how the church was becoming corrupt. They saw it as an opportunity to reform and purify the church so they became known as Puritans.
So you had one group going along with the status quo, just like it always had been another group that wanted to change for the better where they could worship God from their hearts. There was another group of Puritans who said, “It’s hopeless. We’re not going to be able to do it with them. We’re not going to make it with them”. So, they decided to pull out. The congregations that did were called Separatists.
They were both Puritans, but there were those within the church and there were the Separatists
The group of separatists started getting pressure. The government did not like what they were doing, and the established church did not like what they were doing. Some of the Reformers within the church were sympathetic towards them, but not enough. Finally, they had to flee, so they went to Holland.
When they got there they had a pastor named John Robinson. Their church grew to three times the size it was when they first got there. Then they heard about the New World, land of opportunity. They said, “Some of us can go there.”
Even though they had gone to Holland and God was blessing their church with growth, they were concerned about their children, being assimilated into the culture that they were in.
Then they heard about this new place they could go where they would be starting from scratch, without any previous ties or conditions. It would all be up to them. They wanted that opportunity. They wanted to come to the land of the free.
Pastor Robinson envied them so much. He wanted to go but he knew that he had to stay with the congregation that would be left behind.
So on one particular day, they all gathered together and went over to a place called Delfshaven and had a day of fasting and prayer. Then they send them on their way.
So they sailed to the coast to Southampton and they got on what Robert Morgan called “a creaky little ship” known as the Mayflower. That was the group I was describing at the beginning.
The ship was barely as long as a football field. At its widest point, it was 25 feet wide, and it was just an area of about 15 feet where it was that wide, and then it narrowed toward the ends.
It was dark, they had storms, the water got in part of the time, and they had some other passengers on the ship that nobody wanted: cockroaches and rats. And so ` They were on an area that they called the gun deck. BUT, they never lost sight of God.
Every day they would read from the scriptures. They might sing, they might have somebody expound on the scriptures, somebody may have preached. But every day they read the scriptures.
On September 16, 1820, they came to Psalm 107. A portion of this Psalm was spoken by those who were on dangerous voyages but rejoiced because their God controls the elements and knows how to guide them to safe harbors and their desired haven.
Psalm 107:23-31 (NIV)
23 Some went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
24 They saw the works of the Lord,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
they were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea[b] were hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
The last part of verse 30 says “He guides them to their desired haven.” They arrived at a safe haven known as Cape Cod.
Then they decided to get back on the ship. When they got back on the ship, they were preparing to start a colony for England, in Northern Virginia. They decided that before they did that they needed to seek the Lord and establish a form of government
So while they were still on the ship, they wrote a formal binding agreement, known as the Mayflower Compact. It was signed on November 11, 1620.
“In the Name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten … having undertaken for the Glory of God, and the Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honor of King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and of one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick.
This document became the foundation for our representative form of government.
As we look a little deeper into this Psalm, we will realize that we need to be glad when God gives us a noble cause, and two other thoughts on this passage of Scripture.
Be Glad When God Gives You a Noble Cause
If you are a Christian, God has given you a spiritual gift. You may not know what it is, but I know you have one because the scripture says you do. You can read in several places in Scripture about these spiritual gifts and if you combine them all together, there are about 19 that are listed in Scripture. (Romans 12:6-8, I Corinthians 12:8-10, I Peter 4:11) They are probably representative that’s probably not a complete list.
But it is something that God gives you the ability to do. Sometimes it’s an ability to do something you didn’t have the ability to do before. You know that’s a spiritual gift when it comes. Other times He takes things that come naturally to you and helps you use that for His Glory. Be glad when God gives you a noble cause.
He has given you a noble cause if you are a Christian, You need to figure out what that is. You ask “How do you do that?” You pray, first of all, and listen to that still small voice within.
There are a couple other things you can do. Ask around and see if there’s a need. Somebody may come to you and say would you teach a Sunday school class and you may say, “I don’t know if I can do that or not.” You may wind up doing that and God may confirm it for you. Or, God may confirm that it is not your gift. So you continue to seek and follow God’s leading.
One of the other things you can do is to study the Word. Stay in the Word and it will begin to speak to you and become personal to you, Just like the passage in Psalm 107 became a personal Word to those Pilgrims in the storm. They needed hope, and they got hope. It was God who made the waves go up and down and He knew how to take them to their desired haven, and He indeed did take them there.
God gives you a purpose for your life. It’s really difficult going through life without purpose. People who go through life without purpose and meaning get caught up in trying to numb the pain and get involved in alcohol or illicit drugs.
But you have a purpose. Live according to the purpose and be glad for it.
Don’t Expect Carying Out This Cause to be Easy
The second thing is: don’t expect carrying out that purpose to always be easy. Sometimes it is. Jesus said, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) Sometimes He does make it that way, not always.
I know some who have gone through difficult times serving the Lord, Others question them asking how they made it through. Here in the dark moments, they were expecting God to take them through.
One of the reasons why it’s not easy is because Satan doesn’t want you to do the work of God. You may run against the brick walls that Satan throws out. Not only brick walls but fiery arrows that come towards you and all kinds of opposition. But greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (I John 4:4) You might face satanic opposition.
There are other things that make it difficult, and that is just living in this old world. It rains on the just and the unjust alike (Matthew 5:45). We just have some troubles going on in this world. You have times when the opposition of Satan is going on around you and people are being influenced by that. Maybe not you or your immediate friends, but still it affects the whole world.
We experience hardships just by living in this world.
But then we realize that God commands the waves. This passage of Scripture says that they’re going up to the heavens and back down to the depths. Those travelers were experiencing that for real. The passage says they reeled to and fro and they staggered like a drunk man, and their soul melts and they come to their wit’s end.
God Will Bring You to Your Safe Haven
The first thing is to be glad that God works in our lives. He gives you direction. You don’t need to know what the end is going to be, all you need to know is the next step. When you’re pretty sure about the next step, then you take it. Then look for the next step and the next step. Eventually, it will work out.
Sometimes you go along you don’t see very much very clearly. Right now, we see through a glass darkly but one day, we will have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 13:12) One day we’ll understand all these things that we didn’t understand here in this life.
It says in Scripture that their hearts melted and they cried out to the Lord in trouble. We don’t usually want the difficulties when they come, but after we’ve gone through them, we are thankful, because they drove us closer to God. They helped us to realize our need for a Savior, and they drove us to accept Him as our Lord and Savior.
So they cry out to the Lord in their time of trouble. Then God brings them out of their distress, and He calms the storms and the waves get still and they were glad because of the quiet. Then He guides them to their desired haven.
Sometimes we have a little problem going through this life here because God doesn’t always pay on Friday.
Robert G. Lee was a preacher in Memphis, Tennessee, and he preached a famous sermon over and over again. . It was called Payday Someday, But Not Always on Friday, and Not Always on Our Timetable.
When we’re in the dark times of life, that’s when we need to trust God. Trust Him with what we have here and then in the next steps, and He will take us through that.
We were in a lean time of life. We were asking God where He wanted us to go and what He wanted us to do next. Many of my friends were out finding good jobs and were making a lot of money. We were just trying to figure out what we were going to do. and what our next stop was going to be. It was a difficult time. Rhonda came across the verse and it said even though the stalls are empty, I will praise the Lord. (Habakuk 3:17).
I just want to tell you, she never complained one time. She never said anything about me out and getting a higher-paying job.
God has seen us through the dark times. We have 50 years of proof. God sees the safe haven and can take you there.
It might never end up looking really good here in this life. Lazarus ended up being a beggar all his life. There was a rich man and it looked like his life was really good. Both of them died. The rich man ended up in hell. Lazarus, the Bible says was in Abraham’s bosom, which is also described as paradise.
Later on, the rich man looked up and asked for pity, and for just a drop of water because he was in agony. He was told, “In your lifetime you had good things, and now you are tormented But Lazarus, in his lifetime, had the evil and now he is comforted. ” (Luke16:19-31)
I just want to tell you that God will see you through. I don’t want to be completely gloomy about this because I’m not saying that all of us have to be Lazarus. This whole earthly existence won’t be like that. Many times God will turn things around & will give you things that just bring joy to your life.
Dave Ramsey is a good example. He went bankrupt and came back and then he learned how to do better. Some of the gospel groups that we really like, The Cathedrals, for example. They made it to the top, but there were a lot of years when it was really tough. God can take you to your safe haven. Hopefully, you’ll experience the good part here in this life.
But even if you don’t, you could spend eternity in joy compared with this little dash here on this earth.
So what you need to know is that you know that you know that you know that if you were to pass from this life, you will have the assurance that you would go to Heaven. Heaven would be your safe haven.
Be glad for what God is doing for you. Be glad for God’s purpose for your life. Persevere when it is not easy. Most of all, come to the place where you know that you would go to Heaven.