Shipwreck and Safety
Lord, awe and wonder grip me as I consider that You are all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful. I praise You.
Read Acts 27:27-44
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.
Recall a time when you were in a dangerous or life-threatening situation. How did you cope? How was God there for You?
Paul and his fellow sailors knew that sea journeys in winter, even in the relatively placid Mediterranean, were unpredictably dangerous. There is something particularly scary about a storm at sea. When you are only a few feet from an angry sea, as I was once in a sailing boat, your fragility becomes very apparent. We survived, and said a psalm in thanks when we had made it to a sheltered cove.
Paul, a prisoner, yet with considerable authority, persuades the sailors to take a different course of action in order to survive. His confidence that he and everyone else will survive means that he has command of the situation; and so it is that trust in God’s promises can help us to lift ourselves from the very real fears we face. Some fear is fine—it helps us survive—but it needs to be put in perspective by a fear of God, which produces wisdom as well as peace (Prov. 1:7; Psa. 4:8). That seems to be what Paul has here.
Once again the circumstantial details make the incident exciting and compelling. They are traveling in a grain boat (38) which was large enough to take a lot of passengers (37). For Luke, the historicity of this incident is also a testimony to the providence of God. Storms happen, and we also have to say that we can’t often discern anything beyond that. Is it part of a larger pattern? Is it God’s precise purpose for someone, somewhere? It can be dangerous to speculate, but it can be just as dangerous to ignore the possibilities.
Consider if God is speaking to you (softly or loudly) through some recent incident. If so, what is God saying and how will you respond?
Lord of the storm and the calm, the wind and the stillness, the night and the day, and the ups and downs of my life, I trust You anew today.
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