Acts Devotionals

Grace Through the Storm

We have heard of yachts losing their sails, motors and navigation accessories and radio equipment resulting in drifting endlessly at sea for weeks on end before being considered lost and search aircrafts being send to search for them. Some experiences are harrowing. You will recall Luke writing:

Ac 27:20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

Then later adding:

Ac 27:27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea.

Just think of this … the hurricane force winds blew them from the south western side of the Island of Crete, up north, past Greece into the Adriatic Sea. The Adriatic Sea borders places like Modern Croatia, Albania, Slovenia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the eastern side and Italy on the western side. Later, they were blown south, down the Adriatic Sea, past the foot of Italy towards the Island of Malta where they were shipwrecked.

Ac 28:1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.

Here they are between Africa and Europe, some 93 kilometers from south of Sicily and 288 kilometers from north of Libya. They have not reached Malta yet, but consider the power and endurance of this hurricane force wind blowing them all over for two weeks without being shipwrecked on rocks and without sinking. Surely the hand of God was upon this vessel and those on board. Consider Paul’s words one more time

Ac 27:23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am 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.”

There were 276 souls on board, yet not all of them believed Paul, yet as we shall see, God is faithful to His promises. Maybe as we have been going through the Book of Acts and especially over the last few days, you have realized that your life might be somewhat messed up. Perhaps God has been showing you the reason for some of the turbulence in your life and you might be like those on board the ship wanting to bail. Hang in there. If necessary speed read to the end and you shall see that all will be well. God honors His Word. He never promises His people something and then withdraws His promise.

1 Th 5:24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

God is faithful! Please read on:

Ac 27:27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep. 29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.

1) A glimmer of hope. After two weeks of been pushed by the strong hurricane force winds, the crew felt they were approaching land. Although it was midnight they, somehow started taking depth tests and determined the water to be 120 feet deep and then 90 feet deep. Commentators vary on exactly where this was and come up with “interesting and accidental” suggestions for the location. It is possible that at this stage they were being driven towards the island of Malta. By dropping four anchors from the stern, with the wind at the rear meant the ship was pointing towards the Island. They determined their closeness by hearing the waves breaking on the rocks and beach. The anchors also helped steady them so that once daytime arrived they would be able to see where they were. In this action we are able to see that the pilot, owners and crew were seasoned sailors.

When the darkness descends upon us spiritually and we cannot see what might be ahead, it is wise to keep your focus on Jesus who is the anchor of the soul. The way we do this is keeping the Word of God before us as we trust and depend upon the many promises God has made us. Did you notice the words … “prayed for daylight?” Some translate the word “prayed” as “thinking.” That is possible but in this context it means prayer and implies that everyone on board prayed to the object of their faith … be it a pagan idol god or the true living God who owned Paul and his companions … and whom they served. In their crisis they prayed. This is true of most people. The great question is today … when the crisis comes your way, to whom do you pray?

Beloved, we Christians have four graces from God to keep us stable and protected through the storms of life. They are:

(1) The Bible,

(2) Prayer,

(3) The Holy Spirit, and

(4) The Church family (pastors, elders, seasoned Christians).

We need to make use of the provisions God has made. Failure to use them stretches out and negatively impacts on the dilemma and trauma we might be going through.

2) A cunning attempt. The sailors themselves try to desert the crisis by lowering the lifeboat into the sea, yet they disguised their attempt by giving the impression they were lowering extra anchors.

Ac 27:30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow.

Naturally this was not a sudden impulse. It was thought through and discussed amongst themselves. Save ourselves …. Let the rest drown! It was a foolish thought because the ship was secure from the stern, facing land. No extra anchor was needed from the bow. Yet the ever-alert Paul sees what others don’t necessarily seem to have seen:

Ac 27:31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.

It might seem strange to us, but God’s promise was that all onboard would be saved. Add to this the fact that whatever was going to happen (a shipwreck), at that moment the crew needed to be onboard to help. They needed to help everyone onboard. The centurion now listens to Paul and to prevent the sailors deserting, he had the lifeboat’s ropes cut causing its loss. You have heard the saying … “they deserted a sinking ship.” Think of your Church. It might not be what you would like as a Church. The music might be far below par. The finances might be below budget each month. The ministries might be inadequate for your needs. You might have teenagers and there is no youth group. Perhaps there are more older than younger people. But if the Bible is being taught and you are cared for spiritually. If the pastor and elders love the Lord and His people. Then don’t jump ship! Don’t desert like those sailors wanted to. Together with you and the Lord, that Church can be the best and safest place for all members spiritually … just as the ship, even though soon to be a wreck, was the best and safest place for the sailors, soldiers and everyone else onboard.

Father, thank You for giving me a Church. I know the perfect Church will only be in glory. Graciously help me to do my part in the Church I am in to make it a safe haven for all attending. Amen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *