Ready for Shipwreck and Salvation
276 people on board the ship taking Paul to Rome, were preparing for shipwreck. Strong ropes held the ship's stern to four anchors, preventing a night-time foundering onto an unknown shore (Acts 27:29); but the people were weak from lack of food and they had no more energy to do anything to save the ship. Strangely, when all hope had been lost (Acts 27:20), Paul became the morale-boosting, strategic leader. God had spoken to him about the ship being lost but the people being saved (Acts 27:21-26), and everybody trusted what he said. His calm assured voice and confidence about the future was very encouraging for everybody.
In the middle of the night, above the noise of the wind and crashing waves, Paul spoke. He acknowledged the personal strain on everybody over the previous two weeks, the undoubted seasickness and nauseous revulsion of even the thought of food. But they now needed to have enough energy to get to shore safely. Paul promised that everybody would be saved, because God had told him so.
Paul's example in eating bread was preceded by the apostle giving thanks to God for the deliverance they would experience. Soon everybody was eating until they were full. As their strength returned they had enough energy to continue to lighten the ship, heaving overboard the remaining sacks of grain to make the vessel more buoyant. Then they were ready for the strange combination of daylight, shipwreck and salvation.
Although we might like to have everything just as we have planned, the Lord longs most for our salvation and fusion into His purposes. The Lord may allow a cascade of disasters so that we despair of ourselves and learn to trust His Word. But He still loves us and wants to bring us through safely. There is a lot we may have to leave behind, but what is ahead matters more (Philippians 3:13-14). Whatever is lost will never be important for following Jesus in the way He has chosen. So, take heart; get ready for the transition and allow the Lord to bring you safely through it. As you do, do not pray in complaint, but in praise – thanking God for whatever He is about to do.
© Dr Paul Adams