“Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.” ~ Acts 27:20
Ever go through a time when the sun doesn’t seem to shine, the stars are hidden, and all hope is given up? What bleak, dry days those are, when it is “no small tempest”.
We have had a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” * week. Sigh.
Paul, Luke, and an entire ship filled with prisoners, soldiers, cargo, and crew (276 persons, we are told in verse 37) had been caught in a horrific storm, tossed wildly about the Mediterranean for two weeks. Yet Paul did not give up hope.
” ‘And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.” Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.’ ” ~ Acts 27:22-25
Oh, how I need to take a lesson from Paul! God has granted you all those who sail with you. It sounds to me like Paul had been praying during this tempest. Do I pray first, or panic first? For I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. Do I believe, really believe, it will be just as God said it will be?
“And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves.” ~ Acts 27:35-36
Paul trusted God completely, remained calm, and gave thanks in the midst of the storm, setting an example for the others to follow. He encouraged them to take heart, instead of leading a mass “pity party”. I need to be more like Paul and less like Chicken Little (“the sky is falling!!”).
“And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.” ~ Acts 27:44b
And of course, God kept His word. He always, always does. I need to remember to pray, trust, give thanks, and believe more during the storms in this life!
“And so we went toward Rome. And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” ~ Acts 28:14b-15
This time others encouraged Paul. We need to be encouraged, but we also need to be encouragers.
Thanks, God, for being true to Your word, always. And thank you for sending encouragers to us when we most need them. Help us to pray, trust, believe, and be thankful.
* From the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst