Today we will be looking at the last six verses of Acts 27. As a reminder, Paul is a prisoner who is being taken, by boat, to Rome where he will face trial before Caesar. Up to this point, 276 people had been sailing for days with great difficulty and they had lost a lot of time due to bad weather. Paul spoke up to the ship’s officers, “’Men,’ he said, ‘I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on – shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.’” (v.10) Since there were prisoners on board, like Paul, the officer in charge of the prisoners, listened to the ship’s captain and to the owner and not to Paul. They ended up in a great storm at sea with gale-force winds that required cargo and gear to be thrown overboard, like Paul had predicted. Paul called the crew together and told them that they should have listened to him, Paul went on to say: “But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.” (v.22-25) Paul goes on to guide the commanding officer and the soldiers, and he even breaks bread, much like Jesus did with the disciples, giving great thanks to God before everyone on the ship and in the midst of the storm. That brings us to today’s passage, where we see what takes place next, and how God remains true to His Word, and everyone escaped safely to shore.
When you are in the midst of one of life’s great storms, do you rest peacefully in God’s loving care, listening for His guidance, and allow Him to bring you through the storm? Or do you panic and try to do things your own way?
Here’s another question, in the midst of your most recent storm, did you find yourself giving thanks to God and bringing others to Him, like Paul did when he broke bread? Or did you isolate yourself and not share about the goodness of the God that you serve?
Many times, within our storms we question “why God” because we want Him to stop the storm. Right? Think about it, God could have stopped Paul from being arrested, he could have stopped the storm, he could have stopped the shipwreck, and the list goes on and on. But, when we patiently wait until the end of the chapter, we see that God spares everyone’s life. Think about this, if you could sit and talk to all 276 people who were on that ship, how many would share a testimony from that storm that forever changed their lives and brought them to a relationship with “Paul’s God” and saved their lives for all Eternity!
Acts 27:39-44 (NLT)
39 When morning dawned, they didn’t recognize the coastline, but they saw a bay with a beach and wondered if they could get to shore by running the ship aground. 40 So they cut off the anchors and left them in the sea. Then they lowered the rudders, raised the foresail, and headed toward shore. 41 But they hit a shoal and ran the ship aground too soon. The bow of the ship stuck fast, while the stern was repeatedly smashed by the force of the waves and began to break apart.
42 The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners to make sure they didn’t swim ashore and escape. 43 But the commanding officer wanted to spare Paul, so he didn’t let them carry out their plan. Then he ordered all who could swim to jump overboard first and make for land. 44 The others held on to planks or debris from the broken ship. So everyone escaped safely to shore.
Prayer: Jesus, please help me to be more like Paul when I am in the midst of life’s storms. You did not leave Paul during these many storms, and I trust that You will not leave me. Help me to see You within each storm, to praise You for the lessons that need to be learned, and to glorify and share Your Holy Name no matter what I am walking through in this life, because I am living for Eternity with You now, Jesus. I ask all of this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.