Week of Monday, November 1 ­– Sunday, November 7
Take Heart, Men! – Man as a Battle Buddy
“Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.” – Acts 27:22-25 ESV
Encouragement in the storms of life—we all need it! You might think: “I’m not in the middle of a storm right now.” Just hang on, you will be. It is simply a matter of time. Same is true for your battle buddy. Life’s trials come at us in all shapes, sizes, and types. Some storms are physical challenges, others are financial, others are relational, and still others are spiritual. There are different kinds of storms we face with varying levels of severity and intensity. 
For Paul and his shipmates, it was a literal storm at sea. As the incredible Book of Acts winds toward a conclusion, we find Paul standing firm on the promise God gave to him back in Acts 23:11, that he would make it to Rome and share the gospel with the most powerful leader in the world. But the circumstances he was experiencing certainly didn’t line up with what God told him. Paul tried to warn the Roman commander who had him in custody that setting sail would result in disaster, but Paul was ignored. And they sailed right into a storm of biblical proportions.
Many times, that’s what happens to us. We find ourselves in a storm of circumstances we didn’t have anything to do with, and yet we find ourselves hanging on for dear life. So here’s Paul, he’s in the biggest storm he’s ever been in. At this point, everything is going wrong—the storm is raging, the ship is about to break into pieces, they are about to go under, everybody thinks they’re going to die, and they’ve given up all hope according to v. 20. But Paul steps up in v. 22 and says: “I urge you to take heart.” Again in v. 25, just so they get the point, he says: “Men, I’m telling you, I know it seems like all is lost, but take heart!” And then when you look at v. 36, Paul’s faith had become contagious: “They were all encouraged!”
How could Paul be so hopeful in the middle of a situation that seemed hopeless? He had a word from the Lord. He had a visit from the angel of the Lord, who gave him assurance that they would all survive this storm. He told those storm-weary guys who had lost all hope that his God keeps His word, so trust Him. Apparently, they did. Paul’s testimony of trust and faith still inspires lives today!
As you survey the men in your orbit of relationships, surely there is at least one guy who is going through a storm in his life who needs a word of encouragement. That is the role of a Battle Buddy—to encourage that guy friend who is struggling to “take heart,” to hang in there, to trust God. 
Let’s be honest, when we are going through a severe storm in life, we tend to become self-focused. We don’t think as much about other people who may also be in the midst of their own storm. That is where Paul has something to teach us about being a good Battle Buddy. He wasn’t content to be personally encouraged by the angelic message. He shared that hopeful message with those discouraged men in order to encourage them. Which of your Battle Buddies needs to hear you say: “Take heart”?
  • When a storm comes in your life, do you tend to become self-focused rather than others-focused? 
  • Ask God to help you assess the life circumstances of your Battle Buddies. Who is going through a storm right now?
  • Pray for the wisdom to choose the right words that would encourage your struggling Battle Buddy to “take heart.”