I have been enjoying Acts 27 reading about Paul’s terrifying and treacherous journey to Rome by way of the sea. This exciting passage tells of tempestuous winds, titanic waves, quick sand, and a storm that blackened the sky and hid stars for days. Paul and 275 men endured all of these in a terrible storm during their voyage. I cannot imagine the fear that the gripped the heart of each man every day wondering if this would be his last.
Assurance from the Lord
During the tempest, Paul assured the sailors that there would be no loss of any man’s life but the ship would be destroyed (v. 22). Later he reiterated that except the men abide in the ship, they cannot be saved (v. 31). Thirteen days the sailors went without food on this voyage and after Paul reassured the men with these words of hope, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and they ate in the midst of the storm.
The journey of life
The Christian life may be likened to sailing on the ocean. One moment we‘re basking in the sunshine on a calm sea and the next we’re struggling to not be dashed against the rocks. Fear and doubt gnaw at the heart as we try to make sense of what is happening to us. But just as Paul relied upon God’s promise of security, so must the believer in Christ draw strength from the promises of God.
We are guaranteed that we will have tribulation in the world but are also reminded Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33). John reminds the believers that the One Who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world (I John 4:4). In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, Paul states that our heaviest affliction is light and our longest trial is but for a moment compared to the eternal weight of glory that awaits the believer in Christ (2 Cor. 4:17).
A safe refuge
Paul’s ship was relentlessly beaten by the wind and the waves but it provided shelter and security for all those who took refuge inside. Like that ship, the Lord Jesus endured the storm of God’s wrath poured out upon Him for sin. “All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me,” the Psalmist wrote as a prophecy of all that Christ would endure on our behalf (Psalm 42:7).
While Paul’s ship protected every man inside it was ultimately destroyed, but not so the Lord Jesus—He is able to save to the uttermost those that come unto God by him, seeing He lives forever to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:25).
Storms will come
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, in the voyage of life we will face our share of storms. The winds of trial will toss our lives back and forth; the waves of tribulation will tower over and threaten to destroy us. But we have the promises of God that He will never leave us or forsake us, His grace is exceedingly sufficient, and He will not allow us to be tempted above what we are able to bear by His grace (Heb. 13:5, 2 Cor. 12:9, I Cor. 10:13).
An old English proverb states, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” The trials of life are terrifying, but they afford us the opportunity to rely solely upon God and to personally claim His promises. It is as we rest in the certainty and the security of these promises that we can have the peace of God in the tempest.
We must say with Paul, “I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” Then, and only then, will we be able to give thanks to the Lord and break bread in the midst of the storm.