“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: ‘…I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me'” (Acts 27:20-25).
I’ve been reading Acts and towards the end of the book we are hearing about Paul’s persecution by people who don’t want to see the spread of Christianity. Nor do they want to acknowledge that Christ was the Messiah they’d been waiting for.
Paul stands on trial before the likes of Felix, Festus, and Agrippa, to answer for his words and actions–to testify to what he believes, about his calling to preach to the gentiles. He continues to face adversity, hostility, and unbelief.
Then as a prisoner, he sets out on a journey to Rome. A long and arduous journey that included storms and shipwreck, time on an island waiting out the winter, and many other things that we’d not want to experience.
I was struck by the verses at the end of Chapter 27. Despite all the crew wanted to do to Paul, he lets them know that God has promised they won’t be harmed if they don’t try to escape. While they may have treated Paul fairly well, he was still a prisoner. Yet Paul was concerned that not one of their lives should be lost, just as ultimately God was too.
While battling the rough seas and storms for many days==they had not even stopped to eat–knowing that they would need all the strength they could have to make it ashore. God, through Paul, urges them to eat so that they will survive. In verse 36 it says “they were all encouraged.”
Their obedience was rewarded. They were saved and welcomed ashore on Malta.
Their difficult journey is like what our chronic illness can be at times. But God cares and sends us strength and encouragement along the way, so that we too reach our final destination–with courage and faith.
Prayer: Father God, when life seems to be full of storms, or even shipwrecks, may we take courage in the faith we have in You and hold on, knowing You will ultimately bring us through whatever challenges we face. Amen.
About the Author:
Fiona Burrows lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is thankful that God walks each step of her life with her, and that He continues to teach her new things as she learns to live with chronic back pain. She enjoys finding time for reading, writing, and photography, and to share those things with others. She has been writing devotionals for Rest Ministries for a number of years. You can contact her, or if you wish to follow more of her writing, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Does the challenge of chronic illness seem like you’re in the midst of a shipwreck or storm at times? How can you be more aware of God and His care for you, during those times, than you are of the things that scare and challenge you?