Friday, September 14, 2018
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.”
This is Paul’s famous story about being shipwrecked on his journey to Rome. The Mediterranean is famous for having some powerful storms. Last year around the same time of year as Paul’s journey was a storm the weather forecasters called a “Medicane,” or a Mediterranean hurricane. The swirling winds are like that of a tropical storm, but the damage from wind and torrential rains killed at least twenty people and damaged over a 1,000 homes with flash floods and mudslides. Boats carrying refugees from Africa have capsized in storms, killing all who are aboard.
What I think is significant in this passage from Acts is that Paul received word from the Lord that though there would be a shipwreck, all of the crew and passengers’ lives would be spared, so that Paul ultimately could stand trial before Caesar.
Paul shared with the men the promise he received, in order to give the men courage and hope as they battled this storm. Yes, they would run aground on some island and yes, the ship would be destroyed, but they would all make it through this storm alive.
Dear God, you do not promise our days will be all filled with roses and rainbows, but you do promise your presence in trial and rejoicing. You are there to give us courage and hope when we need to be fortified in strength. You will never abandon us through the worst crisis we might face. Let us put all our trust in you, O God, for your love will never fail. We praise you in Christ our savior, Amen