The book of Acts ends with the apostle Paul arriving in Rome. His travels to Rome were not easy. Perhaps the most difficult part was the voyage across the Mediterranean Sea; it was plagued with weather problems.
Luke, the author of Acts, was with Paul on the journey and so was able to give a first-hand account. We pick up the story in the middle and focus on the pivotal point of the journey.
The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, they began to jettison the cargo; and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned. When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, “Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss. Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on a certain island.”
– Acts 27:18-26
While Luke is giving a straightforward historical account, the story also serves as a parable of creation and redemption. Adam and Eve did not follow God’s “advice” about the tree, and thus “set sail” without proper authorization. There were many “storms” along the way, but God sent Jesus to tell humanity that all would be saved so they could “stand before” God, as it were. The “ship” of earth would “run aground,” but the people would all be saved.
Therefore, what matters is not trying to preserve the ship but rather that the passengers care for each other and comfort one another throughout the voyage.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, let me only view the matters of this life in the light of the life which is to come…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)