In times like these, it is difficult to not feel anxious or uncertain of the future. Not only are we facing daily challenges with Covid-19, we are tackling the trickle-down effects of various losses, fear of the unknown, and constant political and social issues competing for our attention and participation. As if this isn’t enough, we also are required to make daily decisions to navigate the realities we face with work, school, marriage, relationships, family, health, and dozens of other complex situations that affect us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Considering these real and present storms of life, we can feel disheartened, anxious, and overwhelmed. This is when God’s Word can encourage us. When I read Acts 27 in the Bible, I am reminded through the story that though we may see the shipwreck clearly—and can do nothing to stop it—we can be confident that God is with us in the surrender and will bring us safely through. When it’s all said and done, we will land where we belong.
Let’s look at the quick facts (Acts 27).
Paul is setting out on a voyage for Rome, as one among other prisoners. His crime—believing and sharing the gospel of Jesus. The story is filled with danger, doubt, fear, loss, opinions, decisions, and multiple attempts to stop the storm, even though the shipwreck is inevitable.
Paul knows the situation will end in turmoil and tries to warn them of the danger, however, the majority would rather listen to the ship owner and pilot (which seems logical). They know all about the boat and how to sail, but in this situation, Paul knows God and has a spiritual perspective and directive.
True to the nature of a storm, the waters rage and the winds grow stronger, turning the storm into hurricane proportions with great force. And as is true to our nature, the men begin to react. Days go by as they fight the external elements and feel the internal fears and uncertainty.
In response, they frantically do all they know to do. They make great efforts to fix the ongoing crisis themselves. They try to stop the violent battering of the ship by bringing the lifeboat aboard, putting ropes under the ship to keep it together, and throwing over the much-needed cargo, tackle, and food. They think, make the load lighter, then maybe we can control where we are going. We can stop the wreckage.
Sometimes life can feel this way, particularly in these uncertain times. We hear the warnings on all sides, we think we know what to do, we trust the leaders and experts to guide us, and we do our best to contain the storm. But like Paul, God is whispering something completely different to our hearts than what we see. What we are being told. What the specialists declare. What we think is best. Our way versus His way.
We continue fighting the storms while each challenge appears to demand more of us. Give up this. Relinquish that. Throw that overboard. It’s still too heavy.
Impulsively, we try harder.
We struggle to believe everything will be okay.
We fret, all while longing to survive.
And despite our best efforts, we remain discouraged, fearful, exhausted, and reactive amid the inevitable shipwreck.
While God whispers to remain calm.
I can relate to those on board the ship. At times, I can feel like I am being called to give up more and more, after already feeling I’ve lost so much.
And God reassures me I’ve gained abundantly what’s important, His heavenly treasures. The opportunity to show love, grace, and mercy.
Nevertheless, like these men, tiredness, exhaustion and uncertainty of where we are going remains. Our Rome. Our Caesar. The place where we may be called to testify of God and our faith, simply by weathering the storm and believing what God says, instead of what the world screams.
Like Paul, in a last-ditch effort, we try to share with others. To warn of impending danger out of concern and care or out of our own opinions. We encourage them to be courageous, that God is with us, that our lives will be safe. And we hope that no one will be lost as we attempt to manage the situation, and others, while God says, believe, trust, and surrender your illusive control.
I am here with you.
You will make it safely to where I’m taking you.
Be still. Have peace.
In closing, Paul and the men appeared to lose everything.
The ship was going to break.
Their courage was going to be challenged.
And they would either trust and follow or disbelieve and bring further loss to themselves and others.
Today, we can listen for the voice of God amid the storms we are fighting through.
His direction, wisdom, and strength are available to us no matter what the situation is or appears to be.
All is not lost.
There is always hope.
We can make it to shore and continue the journey, and until our breakthrough, we can trust the One who calms the storms and knows how to rescue us from the shipwrecks of life.
So, everyone escaped safely to shore. Acts 27:44 (All 276 of those aboard)
Here are a few Scripture references from Acts 27 that we can live out daily:
Love and Hugs! Rikah Thomas
Stay close to God through His Word, prayer, and daily connection with Him.