O Lord, I praise You for being my strong anchor in the storm.
Read Acts 27:13–26
13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor[a] and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
a Acts 27:17 Or the sails
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever been stuck in a storm? How did you feel?
Things can change quickly at sea, as many sailors have found to their cost. Keen to get to a winter port, at the first sight of a gentle wind the sailors put to sea (13). In no time at all the breeze turned into a fierce storm (14). Luke gives a gripping account of what happened (13–20). Like so many before or since, all of them faced an awful, anonymous death. Rushing ahead can be dangerous. Why not read it again, imagining that you are there?
Now, Paul stood up before almost 300 frightened, hungry people and spoke. As they probably expected, he started an “I told you so” speech (21). But something had changed. The night before an angel had stood by him and repeated the message of 23:11, with one small change. God’s plan was still for him to testify about Jesus in Rome, so he would emerge from this disaster safely. But everyone else on the ship was promised safety too! Only the ship would be lost. God’s goodness was spilling out to people who didn’t expect or deserve it. Doesn’t that include all of us?
Is there something in your life about which you need a clear word from God? Write it down and be sure to look out for the answer.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me the grace I do not deserve. Thank You for Your rescuing hand.