In Acts 27 we begin reading of a storm during a sea voyage. in verse 13 there is smooth sailing, but the next verse says a storm arose that was so bad it had a name or classification (northeaster). A prisoner aboard the ship, named Paul, encourages the mariners in an odd way. It should be noted that he calls upon divine revelation to deduce that they will survive the storm, however, he instructs them to place their confidence in the reliability of God’s word. “I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told” (25). While we look for no such divine revelations today, we do have God’s word in written form, from which we can build faith for life’s storms.
As a hymn suggests, “If I walk in Heaven’s light, shun the wrong and do the right; I know the Lord will find a way for me.” Another hymn encourages, “Though the way we journey may be often drear, we shall see the King someday”. We are not Paul, but we could liken ourselves to the mariners. In similar fashion, we have expert knowledge on directing our lives (the ship) in various trials (the storms). I would like to think we often look for guidance from Heaven (as they would the stars). But there are storms that we will face that are so big that we could feel “all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned” (20).
It is at these times that we absolutely must remember Paul’s admonition: “we must run aground on some island.” (26) Do what? I know- that doesn’t seem to be sailing, more like crashing! But, you see, the goal of this life is not to sail. We are not to be focused on our earthly achievements and successes. The trials, and I mean life changing trials, of our existence take us to places we never knew we would go- because we do not make plans to sail into hurricanes! (nor should we) But, when we are in situations where it feels like we are “driven along” (15), and “when neither sun nor stars [appear] for many days” (20) we must “hold to God’s unchanging hand”. For I know that nothing on earth has the power to separate us from the love of God in Christ. Some island? I don’t know what island God has ahead of me in this life, “but I know there are joys that await me, when I’ve gone the last mile of the way.” We can’t always “face the wind” (15), but we can always seek His face.