My parents just came back from Alaska. They were blessed to go on a cruise they not only saw the beauty of this part of the world but where Dr. David Jeremiah shared a word every day and different Christian artists ministered in music. They brought me a souvenir from the trip: a devotional by Dr. Jeremiah and he wrote on the inside cover.

The first devotional entry I read was entitled, “Staying Afloat,” and it talked about fisherman who get stranded at sea, fall off boats, and perish in storms. Statistics were included about the high death rate of commercial fishing. Dr. Jeremiah went on to say that “some have drowned because they couldn’t get their rafts to inflate in a crisis. Instead of a buoyant life raft, they had a useless glob of deadly rubber in the water.”

BUOYANT (adjective)

1. tending to float in a fluid.

2. capable of keeping a body afloat, as a liquid.

3. not easily depressed; cheerful.

4. cheering or invigorating.

Interesting. The word buoy popped out at me just a few weeks ago. It’s not a common word in our everyday vernacular, at least not in mine, so my spiritual antennas went up quickly. You know me and words… 

In my last blog post, I referenced a Bible study that I am going through right now, What Love Is, on the letters of John. I had no idea how timely this study would be for me at this season of my life. God truly knows all things. The writer of the study, Kelly Minter, quoted Martin Luther in the first week. On the letter of 1 John he said, “It can buoy up afflicted hearts.” That’s a strong statement, a distinct word, and though I did not fully appreciate the magnitude of the statement the way I do now, a mental note was made. God knew what affliction would take place in my own heart and reminded me that buoy of His Word alone is what keeps me afloat.

BUOY (noun)

1. Nautical. a distinctively shaped and marked float, sometimes carrying a signal or signals, anchored to mark a channel, anchorage, navigational hazard, etc., or to provide a mooring place away from the shore.

2. a life buoy.

BUOY (verb)

3. to keep afloat or support by or as if by a life buoy; keep from sinking (often followed by up)

4. to sustain or encourage (often followed by up)

As Christians, we are prone to stormy waters. In fact, it’s a guarantee. Sometimes it’s a rainy or windy season, occasionally the seas are calm and the sun shines brightly, but other times we have to declare a state of emergency. How do you stay afloat? What do you do when the seas are far from calm? In troubled waters, do you fail to reach out for help? In David Jeremiah’s devotional, he described fisherman who failed to stay afloat in the storm. Some fell off the boat, some even tragically perished. Sadly, that’s not just the case in commercial fishing, it happens spiritually to many around us every single day. If a professional fisherman should be adequately equipped to face the storm, how much more us as spiritual fishers of men? What makes us think that we are exempt? What makes us think it will be less tumultuous?

“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”  (Psalm 119:92)

As we’re more and more accustomed to looking to the buoy of God’s Word in times of peace, our natural response will be to grab it in the storm. We’ll already know how to open it up and keep afloat. The Word of God is a source of life. It sustains, encourages, supports, and anchors. I know that without the anchor of God’s Word, I’d perish in my storm because it’s raging and fierce.

Your hearts may be afflicted right now and it’s okay to acknowledge that. Mine certainly is. Feelings are real but God’s Word is Truth.

“Yield every thought and deed to His control day by day, and let His presence keep you inflated and buoyant on the choppy waters of life.”  (Dr. David Jeremiah)

I don’t know much but I do know this, God’s Word is true and the only truth that will sustain us in the violent storms and the floods that keep rising. His Word is living and it is active. It is our sustenance, our peace, our comfort. 

If you are struggling to stay afloat and can barely keep your head above water, look to the Lord and to His Word. Know you’re not alone. You may feel like you can’t hold on but He is holding us. My words fail in times of crisis but His Word remains and will never ever pass away. God is greater and sits enthroned over it all. He calms the storms inside of us and buoys up our afflicted hearts. We don’t have to understand HOW, we just need to know WHO. He alone is our strength and our peace. Be encouraged today.

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!  (Psalm 29:10-11)