I saw a bumper sticker recently that said, “I’d rather be driving my boat.” There’s something about being on the water that is relaxing. But water can be dangerous, and the exhilarating smooth sailing of one moment can quickly turn into white-knuckled fear as you hang on for dear life. Nobody leaves shore intending to be shipwrecked or stuck on the open sea. Acts 27 describes Paul’s travel to Rome. Echoes of Jonah’s story reverberate, as Luke describes a violent storm, a Northeaster, that blows off Crete and grabs hold of the ship. Sailing in the Mediterranean Sea in late Fall was dangerous, and for many days and nights the ship was battered by the storm and gave way to its winds, the crew helpless to do anything. While there are similarities to Jonah, one huge difference is that Paul was sailing into God’s calling while Jonah was running away. You can control which direction you travel, away from God or towards him. Take encouragement friends, knowing the storms of life will descend upon you in either case, and when they do, listen for God’s reassuring voice to get you through.
When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. 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. But now 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 to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside meand 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.
Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.