“ It was three months after the shipwreck that we set sail on another ship that had wintered at the island—an Alexandrian ship with the twin gods as its figurehead. Our first stop was Syracuse, where we stayed three days…. There we found some believers, who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome.” – Acts 28:11-12, 14.
How do we find the strength to weather the storms in life when family is far away, where there is no help on the horizon, and your faith in God is being tested as never before? When everything is in pieces, where do we find the strength to put the pieces back together again. There is a story about Paul in Acts 27 on this very subject.
After more than two years of waiting, Paul was finally sailing for Rome. His whole life, his training and experience had led up to this moment. The trip starts. The ship is headed for a place called Fair Havens to spend the winter. But then everything goes south in a hurry.
“. . we encountered strong headwinds that made it difficult to keep the ship on course.” (vs. 4). “We had several days of slow sailing, and after great difficulty we finally neared Cnidus….” (vs. 7)…”We struggled along the coast with great difficulty…” (vs. 8) “… We had lost a lot of time. The weather was becoming dangerous for sea travel because it was so late in the fall…” (vs 9)
Acts 27 goes on to say that the wind carrying Paul to his mission in Rome suddenly shifted. It was as if God himself was blowing against Paul. You can imagine Paul onboard the ship wondering if God had called him to go to Rome, why was it so hard to get there. Many of us have been in the same boat. We believe God has called us to minister here, to take this job, etc., so why is He making it so difficult? Why does He place obstacles in the way?
When the winds are against us and no fair haven is in sight, we have to find our strength in God. We have to remember that it is possible to get so wrapped up in doing something for God, that we can lose sight of what He is doing in us. There is a reason that He leads us into storms or puts obstacles in our way. God has a purpose. Paul’s trip to Rome went from bad to worse as gale-force winds battered the ship and the crew threw everything overboard. But in Acts 27:22-24 Paul tells the crew “…take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’
God kept His promise to Paul. We can find our strength in the fact that God will keep His promises today.
- What is the greater pressure/circumstance you are facing right now? How can Paul’s example in Acts 27 help you?
- How would being anchored to God (finding strength in God) help in that situation?