Finding God in Crises
Lord God, I know I can trust You and Your all-wise power when difficult or dangerous situations come to me.
Read Acts 27:13-26
 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.  Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island.  The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.  As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure,  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 and let the ship be driven along.  We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard.  On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands.  When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.  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.  But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.  Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me  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.’  So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.  Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did Paul exercise good leadership in this situation?
The voyage started smoothly with a “gentle south wind” (13) but quickly turned into a hurricane, what those in the northeastern US call a “nor’easter.” The crew does all it can to keep the ship under control and upright, but the situation becomes increasingly desperate and, finally, hopeless (20). Is this storm a punishment from God on Paul’s captors? It seems Paul doesn’t see it that way. It’s just a storm that they could have and should have avoided. In the midst of all this chaos, Paul remains calm and provides the leadership and composure that others lack. What is his secret? Simply that he is in close touch with God. Sometimes when things fall apart we lose touch with God. The crisis takes over, all our energies are concentrated on survival, and prayer becomes harder. That’s not, it would seem, the situation for Paul. Amid anxiety and panic he keeps his priorities right and maintains his relationship with God. Take a look at your responses in difficult times and ask what you can learn from Paul. He trusts and listens to God, and he is not afraid to speak out even when he might be ignored or criticized.
How do you react in crises? How can you prepare to be in close touch with God at all times, especially during crises?
Lord, help me to maintain a close relationship with You so that when crises come, I can listen to, and speak for, You.
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