330 - A Storm at Sea
NOVEMBER 26 - Nº 330 Acts 27:3-20
The first stop on the long journey to Rome was a port called Sidon. Julius, the centurion in charge of the prisoners on the ship, granted Paul permission to go on shore to visit some friends and get supplies. Julius must have had tremendous respect for Paul to allow him to do this, since letting a prisoner escape could have cost him his life. Strong winds made the next part of the trip difficult, but eventually the ship was able to reach several ports along the coastline of Asia. When they finally docked in Myra, the centurion found an Egyptian ship that was headed to Italy. He made arrangements and transferred his prisoners to the larger cargo vessel. The winds picked up and made it very difficult to sail west, so the captain turned the ship to the south. He decided to pass on the leeward side of the island of Crete before turning back to the west. He counted on the winds being better there. The ship finally docked in Fair Havens on the southern coast of Crete. By then it was almost winter. The captain discussed the possibility of anchoring there until spring, but he decided to sail a few more miles up the coast to a port that was safer during the winter. Paul went to Julius and warned him that this was not a good idea. He said, “If we go further, our voyage will be disastrous. The captain will lose his ship and its cargo, and all of our lives will be in danger.” But Julius chose not to interfere with the captain’s decision. After all, he was the owner of the ship and had far more sailing expertise than Paul did. So, as soon as there was a break in the weather, orders were given to lift the anchor and sail for the port of Phoenix. Not long after they left Fair Havens, the southerly winds shifted, and a fierce gale blew in from the north. Hurricane force winds drove the ship away from the coastline and out into deeper water. The crew struggled to stay on course, but the storm kept growing worse. Finally, realizing that their efforts were useless, they lowered the sails and let the storm drive them along. As they were being blown past the last small island off the coast of Crete, they realized there was no way they could make it to shore. So, they hoisted the rowboat and lashed it to the deck. They ran ropes underneath and around the ship hoping to keep the wooden planks from breaking apart in the treacherous waves. They weren’t sure how far they were from Africa, but they were afraid they might run aground on the sandbars off the coast of Libya where the ship would be battered apart. So, they lowered the anchor to slow the ship down. The next day they threw their cargo overboard to lighten the ship and allow it to float higher in the water. By the third day they were desperate. They began tossing the ship’s equipment into the sea. But the storm kept raging. No one had seen the sun or the stars for days. Much of their food had been thrown overboard, so they were starving. Most of the men on board gave up hope of ever being saved.
No matter how well we plan things out or how skilled we are at what we do best, God is ultimately in control of our lives. We can’t add a single day—or even one minute—no matter how hard we try. And worrying only makes things worse. Sometimes we just have to stop fighting the things we can’t control and let God take us where He wants us to go.