“For many days neither sun nor stars appeared, and the severe storm kept raging. Finally all hope was fading that we would be saved…Now I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of any of your lives…” (Acts 27: 20-22)
We have faith in a lot of things that we might not consciously think about – a relationship, our ability to walk or talk, a car starting in the morning, our ability to remember things, a plane landing at our destination, our freedoms – might seem reasonable to assume, but there are many people reading this list who know fear around each of these items.
- People donʻt live up to expectations – it could be their fault, ours, a combination of miscommunications, but there will always be a time of conflict. Unless there is grace a relationship will break.
- Our health fails – covid, alzheimers, sprained ankle? Walking and even thinking are blessings (and it becomes evident to everyone as we get older!).
- A reliable vehicle is a luxury for many, especially during these difficult financial times.
We have so much faith in things that are quite unreliable and so little faith in the only reliable God during times of trouble. Acts 27 is lengthy and there are many “examples and lessons” from Paul and the Christians on board, the actions of the crew, the plans of the soldiers, and the circumstances of the journey. What stood out most to me, is summarized by the phrase at the very end of the chapter, “…In this way, everyone safely reached the shore.” Everyone.
- Not just Paul
- Not just the Christians
- Some of the folks were completely innocent (there were likely others who were also going to trial and had not been convicted of any crime)
- Including those with selfish (sailors) and evil (soldiers) plans
- Including those who made bad choices (captain, centurion)
The sailors had great expertise and yet all their skill could not save them (they lost hope and threw everything overboard). The wealth of the owner and the precious cargo could not save them (it was tossed! The ship was lost!). They did not listen to Godʻs advice (delivered through Paul) but all 276 were miraculously spared from the dark and raging seas to the morning light on a remote beach.
Acts 27 is an encouragement for anyone going through a terrifying “storm.” Maybe your choices brought you here. Maybe itʻs no fault of your own. You may have skills or you may be completely lost and having to rely on others. Whatever your circumstance, “Fear not!” is the command given in verse 24 and so we must trust in God and his goodness. Itʻs often easier said than done and itʻs a lesson all Christians continue to learn, and grow in, throughout life. Read Acts 27 again and see how things seemed so ordinary at times. Imagine whatʻs going through the minds of the people there, and understand the fear, doubt, and despair. Then see Godʻs miraculous saving of EVERYONE and the faith, hope, and joy in Paul as he encourages those around him and points them to the God whom he serves. Despite everything going on around us, our faith and trust in the Lord is a shining light and hope in the darkness around us.