- Gwen Diaz
NOVEMBER 27 - Nº 331 Acts 27:21-44
It was a disastrous situation on board the ship that was transporting Paul to Rome. The crew and passengers were caught in a catastrophic storm. There was no way to steer the ship in the hurricane force winds as it was battered and tossed by tumultuous waves. Most of the supplies were gone. All 276 of the sailors, soldiers, and prisoners had given up hope—except for one! Paul spoke up to encourage the desperate men. He reminded them that none of this would have happened if they had listened to his advice and stayed at Fair Havens (see #330 - November 26). He didn’t bring this up to scold or shame them but to validate that any advice he received from God was true. Then he shared a new message he had just received. “Be courageous,” Paul urged his terrified shipmates. “The boat will be destroyed, but not one of you will be lost. Last night an angel of God came and stood beside me. He said, ‘Do not be afraid Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar. And God is going to graciously spare the lives of everyone who is sailing with you.’ I have faith that this will happen just as the angel told me it would.” On the fourteenth night after leaving the harbor, the wind was still driving them across the Adriatic Sea. Sometime around midnight the sailors sensed that they were getting close to land. They threw a weighted line over the side of the ship to test how deep the water was. It sank 120 feet before it hit the bottom. A short time later it sank only 90 feet. The sailors dropped four anchors from the back of the boat and prayed for daylight. Some of the sailors let the lifeboat down. They pretended they were going to lower more anchors from the front of the ship, but Paul knew that they were trying to escape. He told the centurion and the other soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” So, the soldiers cut the ropes and the lifeboat drifted away. Just before dawn Paul urged everyone to eat. “For 14 days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have not eaten anything. Now take some food. You need it to survive. If you listen, I promise that not one of you will lose a single hair from your head.” Paul took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke the bread and ate it. Soon everyone was eating. When they were all full, they threw the rest of their grain overboard to lighten the ship. In the early morning light, they saw a bay with a sandy beach. They decided that this was the best place to run aground. They cut loose the anchors and hoisted the sail hoping to make it to shore. Unfortunately, the front of the ship struck a sandbar and would not move, and the back of the boat was shattered by the waves. The soldiers drew their swords to kill the prisoners. They wanted to prevent them from swimming to shore and escaping! But the centurion was determined to save Paul’s life, so he would not let them carry out their plan. He ordered everyone to jump in and swim to shore.
Paul stayed calm through this entire, terrifying ordeal! That is because God had promised to take him to Rome—and Paul trusted God to fulfill His promise. When you are frightened or discouraged, do you cling to the promises God has given you? Read the promises in the verses below and highlight them so you can find them when you need them.
Deuteronomy 31:6; Matthew 11:28-29; Romans 8:38-39; Philippians 4:19