Text: Acts 27:27-44
For courage in storms
For trust in God in every aspect of life
THE STORY OF PAUL’S SHIPWRECK brings to mind another story of a famous Biblical voyage: the journey of Jonah to Tarshish. The details are similar, for there is a man of God on board, a storm rises that cannot be overcome, and there is doubt over the fate of the ship and the crew. Paul responds well, Jonah somewhat less so, but the core of both stories is that God is at work in life and when we give ourselves to his care things turn out as they should.
Notice I did not say they turn out necessarily as we might wish. We like to pretend that we ourselves have the kind of far sight that is needed for decision making, but if our far sight was so sharp, we wouldn’t hear so much about the power of hindsight! A good example of this was the vote taken earlier in chapter 27 about whether to stay in Fair Havens or return to the voyage. The “let’s go” side won the vote. What was the result? A terrible storm, 14 days adrift, hunger, shipwreck, the mad scramble of 276 persons to get free of the foundering boat and safe to shore. Not the kind of thing that the cruise lines like to advertise! Yet, all of these events did not thwart God’s desire for Paul to be delivered in Rome.
Of course, it did not have to be that way. Paul himself advised staying in Fair Havens! Paul’s trust in God was not encouragement to recklessness but neither was his trust an excuse to be afraid. Paul, the man of God, has not become passive, but has learned the gracious ways of God and continually leans into his Lord, trusting him in all things and takes action on the basis of that trust. Paul himself had written to the Roman Christians “if we live, we live to the Lord; if we die, we die to the Lord, so whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Paul can write this because his life and his death are not in his own hands, but in God’s.
As are ours.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks