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Cocoons and Nor’easters
This article is from the “Edifying the Body” section of the Church of God Big
Sandy’s Web site, churchofgodbigsandy.com. It was posted for the weekend
By Lenny Cacchio
LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo.—Social commentators sometimes refer to a concept
known as cocooning. According to trend forecaster Faith Popcorn (yes, that’s
her real name), “Cocooning is about staying home, creating a safe place
Although the term is usually used to describe a preference to spend leisure
time at home or the action of drawing within oneself out of preference, often
people will withdraw—cocoon, if you will—in times of stress.
When going through rough times, most people who cocoon will begin to build
walls to protect themselves in an attempt to gain some relief from the stress-
es that bombard them. Their worlds become smaller and they become iso-
lated, and it’s not unusual that they might not even be aware of what would
otherwise be obvious needs of those around them.
Then there are those certain rare individuals who, in times of stress, will rise
above the self to see and even sacrifice for the needs of others.
Recently I was doing a deep dive into the apostle Paul’s journey to Rome. He
was a prisoner aboard a ship bound from the east coast of the Mediterranean
at precisely the wrong time of year to begin a sea voyage (Acts 27:9), and
he knew it. Sadly, he had no choice in the matter.
He was a prisoner of the Romans and had to pretty much do whatever the
Romans commanded. That didn’t stop him from speaking up on the matter
and expressing his fretting to his captors (verse 10).
His fears were realized when a nor’easter caught the ship, nearly destroying
it and tossing it for two full weeks in open seas with the crew having no con-
I once was in rough seas for a day and a half at about the same time of year
that Paul experienced his shipwreck. I was in no physical danger, but my
stomach was certain that my life depended on it being emptied every few
minutes, and I can assure you that I had absolutely no patience for my wife,
who had the good sense to swallow some Dramamine before embarking.
I wasn’t the only one turning different shades of green on the trip, but I real-
ly was not thinking about others’ tribulations or the lack thereof. If I had the
energy to pray at all, it was about me and only me.
It’s instructive to look at what Paul and his shipmates said before they left
port and compare it to what he tells the crew 14 days into the storm. The
contrast between Paul’s warning in verse 10 and his encouragement in vers-
es 21-26 includes a little nugget of wisdom that is easily missed.
Paul’s fret in verse 10: Everything including lives will be lost.
Paul’s encouragement in verses 21-26: The ship and everything on it will be
100 percent lost, but every life will be safe.
I have read the passage about this journey to Rome many times, but a
bit of nuanced wording never quite registered. Notice what Paul says in his
“God has granted you all those who sail with you.”
Remember that Paul’s own life was previously assured. He had an ironclad
promise that he would get to Rome and bear witness to the Gospel there
In verse 10 he warns that others on the ship might not have the good for-
My reading of the encouragement in verse 24 (“God has granted you . . .”) leads
me to believe that Paul, instead of cocooning in the midst of the storm, was
spending a good deal of time asking God to spare his traveling companions too.
This in spite of the fact that he was their prisoner and the demise of the
Roman soldiers could have well been his ticket to freedom.
First, pray for more than yourself and your circle. The people you encounter
daily, whether believers or irreligious, all have a need for God’ grace. They all
bleed bright red when cut by the trials of life.
Second, think of those needs even when burdened by your own. I have
known a few people in my life who, even though burdened themselves, have
burning in their hearts the desire to relieve the burdens of others. I witnessed
that recently, and when I did I saw the workings of the heart of God.
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