In the nick of time

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, You are my Rock in every storm of life, and You will carry me safely home.

 

Read: ACTS 27:13-26

[13] When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. [14] Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. [15] The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. [16] As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure,[17] so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. [18] We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. [19] On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. [20] When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. [21]After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. [22] But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. [23] Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me [24] 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.’ [25] So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. [26] Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” 

 

Reflect: WHAT WILL PAUL’S HEARERS TAKE AWAY FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?

Having set out at an inauspicious time weather-wise, Paul’s prophetic words in verse 10 begin to be fulfilled. The weather worsens; the ship is in danger of breaking up; anything that can be thrown overboard, including vital equipment, is jettisoned. Then Paul speaks. He tells them how the previous night God had spoken to him through an angel, telling him that they would all be saved, though they had failed to listen to his warning, because of what Paul himself had to do. At just the moment when all hope, humanly speaking, has gone, that’s when the word from God comes. As Paul tells the ship’s company what he believes will happen, his allegiance to God is clear (23). He belongs to God, he serves God and he encourages the others with his own faith in God (25). I wonder what they thought about that. They’ve already seen that what he said has come true; maybe that makes them more inclined to believe him this time. Whatever they thought, Paul’s ability to stay focused on God stands out in the middle of all the turmoil.

 

APPLY

Think about, and give thanks for, the different ways God has acted on your behalf.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Beautiful Savior, You are worthy of my unwavering devotion in both heart and action.

 

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