…For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, and said, ‘Stop being afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you [the lives of] all those who are sailing with you.’Apostle Paul (Acts 27:23-24 amp)
Can you imagine being a soldier on that ship? Storm after storm is battering the ship for nearly two weeks. You’re hungry but you can’t eat because you’re seasick. Surely at any moment, whatever god is judging you will end your life. Then here comes this prisoner. He’s been calm the whole time, helpful in whatever way he can be, maybe you’ve heard him speaking quietly from time to time. You know he’s praying but not in the frantic way of the others or yourself. He’s even been able to sleep peacefully! He steps up and calls over the wind. You’re going to survive! But do you trust this guy and the crazy thing he’s telling you to do?
Reading through the next few verses, we know that God was good on His promise. It turned out just as the angel relayed to Paul. Everyone on the ship survived though the ship itself did not. Because of one man’s faith on that ship, every living being on that ship survived. I have no doubt that during his days and nights of praying, Paul interceded for the lives of all those who were with him. God heard his intercession and placed those men under Paul’s umbrella of faith.
God Has Given You
Imagine you’re holding a giant umbrella. This umbrella is so giant that all the people in our lives can fit under it. If there’s a rainstorm, we have the means to help protect those people.
Our faith can serve as an umbrella of protection for those in our lives.
We see this all over scripture.
Abraham bartered for the lives in Sodom and Gomorrah. Had he asked, God would’ve spared every life in those cities. In allowing Abraham to intercede on their behalf, God was placing them under Abraham’s umbrella. (Genesis 18:16-33)
Noah built a boat. Noah’s family trusted him enough to get on the ark and they were spared from the flood. God placed them under Noah’s umbrella. (Genesis 6:9-7:24)
In the same way, Paul’s trust and reliance in God served as an umbrella of protection for all who sailed with him. Had anyone left the boat, they would’ve forfeited that protection. (Acts 27:30-31)
There are people in our sphere that God places under our umbrella to protect and care for until such a time that they step out from under it.
They could be people you are mentoring. They could be friends who are not saved or are having a hard time. They could even be people on a social or corporate hierarchy than you. Paul was a prisoner. There was a Centurion on that ship. God placed that Centurion under Paul’s umbrella. Is God calling you to pray for and intercede on behalf of someone? He may be placing them under your umbrella.
Think of a pastor in a church. Everyone who attends that church is in some way under that pastor’s umbrella of faith. As a family, our children, and even our spouses, are under our umbrella.
God has placed people under my umbrella. These were people I cared for, prayed for, lived my faith in front of, and even helped find and live their own faith. Eventually they’ve stepped out from under my umbrella. For the time that they were there, though, I was a spiritual covering, of sorts, for them. And yes, umbrellas can overlap if need be.
God is our ultimate umbrella. Think of it like an upside down pyramid. There’s God, next our pastor, then our immediate covering, then our umbrella covers someone else. We all have someone under our umbrella.
What authority do we have over those who are under our umbrella? When God places people under our umbrella, He gives us spiritual authority over them. The authority to pray for them, intercede on their behalf, and to fight spiritual battles for them. We have the authority to speak the Word of God over them and into their lives. To counsel them and help guide them. To teach them and be a vessel God uses to train them up in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6)
Those placed under our umbrella of faith fall under our spiritual protection. That spiritual protection sometimes transfers to their physical protection, too. Not like we’ll jump into a fist fight for them, but we cover their physical well being with our spiritual prayers. Remember, we war not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities of darkness. (Ephesians 6:12)
Once they are out from under our umbrella of protection, we do not have the same spiritual authority over them. That doesn’t mean we can’t still do all of those things we did before, in fact we should, but it will not be the same. They will have stepped under someone else’s umbrella and that authority transfers to that person.
Be Not Unequally Yoked
Do not be unequally bound together with unbelievers [do not make mismatched alliances with them, inconsistent with your faith].2 Corinthians 6:14
Remember that image of holding an umbrella? Call it up again. Now imagine that there is someone standing beside you, but they’re too tall for your umbrella. You know that they should be holding the umbrella, but instead you’re the one extending your arms trying to make sure your umbrella covers them. Your arms will eventually grow weary. You may find yourself frustrated and wishing they would just hold the umbrella for once. Wives, this is what it is like being married and unequally yoked.
Or imagine that you’re holding your umbrella and the person beside you fits under the umbrella, but they keep wandering out from under it. You love them so you try to move, too, readjusting your arm position so that they’re still covered. They may move so far that you will have to step away from the path you are walking on to keep them under that umbrella. You will have to choose between staying on the path, which means letting them walk out from under your umbrella and getting soaked, or walking with them. You’re being pulled in too many directions and you wish they would just stay under the umbrella. You may find yourself heartbroken and wishing they would walk the path that you are called to with you. Husbands, this is what it is like being married and unequally yoked.
Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor; for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion…A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 amp
We all know this verse and how it relates to marriage. What happens when the faith of one is non-existent? Will that one know how to uphold their companion? Will they know how to lift the other up when they fall? I think we know the answer. The weight would crush them.
Even wives can cover their husbands with their umbrella for a time. We all stumble and fall. If the wife has an umbrella of faith, she can cover her husband with it, upholding him in prayer and fighting the attacks of the enemy. In an equally yoked marriage, the wife will not be weary from extending her umbrella for so long. When the husband is back up, the distance between them is not so great. They can rely on each other. Their umbrellas fit together. They are of the same mind, having the same love [toward one another], knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose [and living a life that reflects [their] faith and spreads the gospel...]. (Philippians 2:2 amp)
It is easier to walk the path God has called us to when we’re not fighting to keep our other half under our umbrella.
Something my parents told us when Hubby and I were talking about marriage is that when we enter that union, the calling on my life becomes his, and his becomes mine. We are one, not only knit together in spirit and body, but in calling. How difficult would it be if one of us wasn’t holding up our umbrella. That is why it is so important to not only be unequally yoked, but to wait for God to bring about the right person for us.
Who is Under Your Umbrella?
I want you to think about the people God has placed under your umbrella of faith. Ask Him how you can act in their life today. Spend some time seeking His will for you in their life. And don’t be afraid to act. Had Paul not acted, soldiers would’ve left the boat and died.
The people under your umbrella are there for a purpose. God knows that purpose so align yourself with Him and His will.