“The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.” – Acts 27:20.
The last two chapters of Acts are devoted mainly to Paul’s journey to Rome. In Acts 27, Paul was sailing as a prisoner from Caesarea to Rome. He warned the crew of a disaster and was ignored A storm came up that threatened the boat for many days before it finally shipwrecked on the Island of Malta. The people on the boat lost hope.
We all face storms in life. There are times we all feel shipwrecked because everything that supported us and made our lives stable has been pulled away. Storms come in forms of sickness. Or in a loss. Shipwrecks come when jobs are downsized. Shipwrecks come when we have conflict in our marriage. In all these situations we feel like life as we know it might be forever changed and maybe even over. So how do we handle those situations? Being able to move forward with faith and trust doesn’t just happen, finding the strength and courage to keep going doesn’t just happen. Paul’s shipwreck at Malta provide us some insight on how to not only survive, but thrive.
The first lesson we need to learn from Paul is to expect the unexpected and be prepared. Being prepared depends on faith. The only way that we can make sense of the trials, disappointments and even tragedies of life is to have a solid relationship with God where our faith helps us make sense out of what we see happening around us. As Paul said, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28)
The second lesson is to remember God’s purpose. While storms and setbacks come in life, God does have a larger purpose for us that God will work to accomplish. Paul was reminded of this when during the storm an angel came to him in a dream recorded in Acts 27:23-25. God had a purpose for Paul, he was to stand before Caesar in Rome and talk about Jesus being the Messiah and Savior of the world. God reminded Paul of this purpose which helped Paul not lose hope but stay focused. God has a purpose for all of us in life. The purpose may be specific, like a call to a unique task or plan, but it might also be general – like the call to be a good parent, faithful child or supportive friend. In times of disappointment and pain, we need to remember God’s purpose for our lives and Jermiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Whether the boat is in full sail or sinking our hope should be on Jesus Christ. It is easy to look at our circumstances rather than looking at and placing our hope in Jesus Christ. Replace hopelessness with faith and trust in God.
- What is your first thought when you have that sinking feeling? Your first action?
- What can we do this week to replace that sinking feeling with faith and trust in God?