This series will focus on Acts 27. Please take time to read this chapter.
In review, we have learned three truths concerning the storms of life: first, they will come; second, the storms will reveal where our faith lies, that is, the storms will reveal how we are living, by faith or by sight; and third, the storms provide God an opportunity to work on our hearts!
Paul and his shipmates had been blown more than 500 miles off course. And after two weeks in darkness without food and no letup in the storm, the men began to sense they were approaching land. Thus, they took soundings and discovered this to be true. Verse 29 states, “Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.” Then, some of the sailors tried to escape by letting down a lifeboat pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. But Paul knew what they were up to. Thus, he reported this to Julius (the centurion) and said, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” And so, the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.
When the storms of life come, don’t cling to worthless idols. Cut them loose. Money, popularity and success are worthless when you face the storms of life. Don’t cling to them. Instead, cling to Jesus. Run to Jesus because he is your only hope. Hebrews 6:18-20 states, “We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.” Is Jesus your anchor?
In verse 33, we learn that these men endured this storm for 14 days. Now, if you have ever been at sea in a storm, you know that two weeks is an eternity, particularly in darkness. But a man of God stood firmly in the midst of the 275 other men on that ship. God loved each of these men. And guess what? He had their attention. That is what happens when God allows a storm in your life—He gets your attention. And God had Paul there for a reason—to share his faith with them. And that is exactly what he did.
In verse 34, Paul suggested that they all eat. He took bread and gave thanks to God, right in front of all these men. Question: do you give thanks when you are at a business luncheon? Do you bow your head and thank the Lord for your blessings in front of your friends? This is what we should always do, but particularly when God has us in a storm. A storm in a Christian’s life is like a megaphone. And the world is watching to see how you are going to respond. Be bold. Share your faith. Let others know where your faith lies.
Verse 36 states, “They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.” Then they threw all the remaining grain into the sea. The next morning, they saw land—a bay with a sandy beach. You know the rest of the story…the ship struck a sandbar and it began to break up. And then, Julius had to protect Paul and the other prisoners because the soldiers wanted to kill them. There again, God was looking out for His man. Julius then ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The chapter ends with verse 44, “The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety,” just as Paul had predicted. God’s Word is always true. Now we don’t know how many of these men placed their trust in Jesus. But you have to believe that many of them did. And they all made it to shore.
My brother-in-law, John Lyon, had his world turned upside down six years ago when he got word from his doctor that he had cancer. Now, he has learned of another storm. Last week he learned that had to have quadruple by-pass surgery. John shared with me that the first storm of six years ago had him more prepared spiritually for this storm. He said, “I have an anchor in Jesus Christ who holds firm through any and every storm! And I’ve got my eyes on Him.”
If you haven’t faced a storm yet, just keep on living. The storms will come. The question is, where does your faith lie? In what or in whom do you really trust? The Bible makes it very clear that one day, perhaps in the near future, when all of life’s storms have passed, believers will arrive at a bay with a sandy beach—at a place that has been prepared for them. The Bible calls this place Paradise. And everyone who arrives there will once and forever be safe. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything.” When we, who are in Christ, arrive in heaven, all of our storms will have passed away. And all of our questions will have been answered. Amen!