As the thunder roared above him, Paul looked. With each flash of lightning he saw each horrified face. Fourteen days without seeing the sun, moon or stars is a long time to weather any storm. Terror had gripped everyone on the ship. All hope of being saved was now gone. Strength was depleted, and despair had taken over in their hearts. All the men wanted to do now was get off the ship.
In most situations in my life, I’ve always felt I had at least a little hope of surviving. How hard it would be to face a circumstance where all hope seemed gone? The apostle Paul wrestled with His thoughts. Why hadn’t they listened to his counsel? He had told them not to set sail. Paul reminded them in the winter the Euroclydon Storm would be waiting, yet they persisted in their decision to sail. Acts 27:13, “And when the south wind blew softly…” It was the calm before the storm. Be careful! Be alert! Be watchful when the soft winds blow in your life because an Euroclydon could be arising just over the horizon. What is this Euroclydon? It is a storm that blows from every direction at the same time. It is a typhoon. If it doesn’t blow you over, it will try to pull you under. The storm leaves you feeling like life is spinning out of control. This was what Paul and the men on the ship were facing. These sailors were seasoned seamen. They had weathered many storms, but they knew no one survived an Euroclydon. Paul knew they didn’t listen before, how could he persuade them now? He had to try. He spoke,” Be of good cheer!” How ridiculous this must have sounded to them. No doubt they said, “We’re facing death in the face and you are telling us, ‘Don’t be worried, be happy.”
Paul continued, “For there stood by me this night the angel of God.” In your Euroclydons of life, do you know who is standing by you? In verse 24, the angel told him, “Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.” In other words, “Paul, you will not die in this storm, because God is not through with you.”
How often do thoughts of quitting or giving up cross our minds? Be of good cheer. Don’t stop now. God is not through with you yet. Stay in the ship. God still has a work for you to do. What Paul said next concerning the safety of the men touched my heart. Above the whistling wind, above the crashing waves, he spoke with trust and determination. “For I believe God.” Is that really all it takes? The same reply we had when we overcame our last storm. Trust and believing God. He is faithful! Some of the men were still not convinced, so they attempted to let down a boat to make their escape. Paul told the centurion, “Except these men abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” Verse 32, “Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.”
Isn’t it time to let go of trust in your own abilities to weather the storm? Excess weights will weigh you down when you’re trying to survive the storm. Cut it loose and let if fall beneath the sea of forgetfulness. You have enough struggle trying to stay afloat than worrying about what he said or what she said. Free your mind and let it fall beneath the waves of the emotional sea. There is no use holding on to the pains and aches of life that will only leave you with open wounds that will never heal until it is cut loose. Determine in your heart that you will survive through the grace of God. Paul’s ship hit the rocks and broke into pieces. The soldiers were to kill the prisoners lest any of them should swim to safety and escape. But the centurion willing to save Paul, kept them from this purpose and commanded they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea and swim to land. Verse 44, “And the rest, some on boards and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.” These men did not try to grab a bunch of pieces to take along for the ride. This was a fight to survive. They took the one piece that would keep them afloat and held on. David said in Psalms 27:4. “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.” The major thing that will keep you above waters is the sanctuary. Psalms 20:1-2 “The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the Name of the God of Jacob defend thee; Send thee help from the sanctuary and strengthen thee out of Zion.” The church is our refuge in the time of storm. STAY IN THE CHURCH!
Finally, these men reached land and found friends that brought them shelter from the bitter cold and rain and warmth from the fire. What happened next brought tears of joy to my eyes. After three months they departed in a ship. They did not allow the Euroclydon to keep them from getting back on the seas. They were ready to face the sea again. Get up and get back on. Don’t allow your last storm to keep you from trusting again. We survive by continuing on, and pressing forward. Acts 28:13, “And from thence we fetched a compass…” The apostle Paul knew he could not always control the storm, but at least he would face it with some direction!
Brother Harvey Hand, the Church of Jesus Christ, Lake Station, IN (The Messenger, Dublin, GA)