Psalm 107:23-31 is a passage that, to me, describes ministry. God's servants are out there doing the work in great waters seeing the hand of God and His mighty wonders. And yet, even the works of God bring highs and lows, leaving them tossed about and at their wit's end. But then, as they cry, "Lord, I need a break," He calms the waves. Quietness returns for a while, and they enjoy a safe haven. The passage reads -
"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deeps. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves there of. They mount up to the heaven, they do down again to the depths; their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven."
What a precious thing to find a safe haven in times of storm. But not just any shelter will do. Acts 27:12 speaks of a haven, which was not commodious. We sometimes drift into non-commodious havens, places where we think we can get away from the storm, but where we find even more difficulty.
One such haven is self-pity. We anchor there because of hurts and pride, thinking no one will see us or know how we feel. As the tears fall and the groaning grinds on our spirits, we should recognize we have moored in a dangerous haven.
Psalm 6:6-7, "I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief."
Another non-commodious haven is resignation to our plight, giving up, or believing ministry too hard. We grow weary of the battle. Staying in this haven brings hardness of heart and a loss of joy to ourselves and those we serve. We can't stay there forever.
Jeremiah 20:9 "I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."
One most often frequented is the haven of anger. Moored alongside are resentment and poor judgment. Those who serve from anger find it colors every outcome, taints every victory, and becomes a fierce taskmaster.
James 1:20 "For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
These havens provide a form of sanctuary, but they take a heavy spiritual and emotional toll.
However, making it to a safe harbor produces distantly different results. Let's turn to Psalm 91:1-16 and see God's description of a safe harbor. In God's haven --
We dwell under His shadow. Verse 1 - "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
We have refuge and shelter. Verse 2 - "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust."
We have deliverance from Satan's traps and annoying calamities. Verse 3 - "Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence."
There is safety and comfort. Verse 4 - "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shall thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
We have no fear. Verses 5-7 - "Thous shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday."
We have satisfaction and refuge. Verse 8,9 - "Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation."
We have God's protection. Verses 10-13 - "There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone."
We have God's favor. Verse 14 - "Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known my name."
We have God's attention. Verse 15 - "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him."
We have God's blessing. Verse 16 - "With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation."
Now that's the sort of place where I want to take a break!
Proverbs 18:10 describes my favorite haven, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." I have sought and found refuge there through many times of storm.
If your life's sea is tossing to and fro or your ministry ship is taking on water, anchor your soul in God's haven. Take a break! You will find safe harbor and enjoy sweet fellowship with comfort, rest, and praise.
I've anchored my soul in the haven of rest,
I'll sail the wild seas no more.
The tempest may beat o'er the wild stormy deep,
In Jesus, I'm safe evermore.