In the Middle of the Storm
In the Middle of the Storm
Posted by: Stephanie Smith
Sermon Text: Acts 27-28
As Paul sets off for Rome to stand before Caesar, he’s once again surrounded by a host and hodgepodge of people that he will impact for Christ. And while Paul's faith (and very life) are certainly tested during the long journey at sea, it’s possible that the delay wasn't actually about him. Maybe the storm was an opportunity for the others on board, who were watching Paul, to meet the One who would calm the storm. Paul’s response to the raging waves likely awakened the hearts and minds of some of the men, causing them to consider the God he spoke of. How about us? When our lives look more like a shipwreck than smooth sailing, do we leverage our responses for the sake of others?
At the height of the storm, when the honorable efforts of the sailors were not providing any chance for survival, it’s Paul’s words that offer a heavenly type of hope and promise. He says to his shipmates, “Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. Take heart – I have faith in the God to whom I belong and whom I worship. Take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told." (Acts 27:22, 23, 25). If ever there was a pivotal moment of reckoning with the Lord, this was it for the men. In the midst of the storm that was threatening their lives, Paul suggests that the time had come to choose in Whom they would put their trust. Oh how I hope for this kind of spiritual sensitivity for others when I am battling a storm!
As the storm rages on (notice it didn’t stop the moment that Paul assured them that God would preserve their lives), Paul further encouraged the men with a communion message. “Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you. And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat." (Acts 27:34-35). And again, Paul points them to God, and to the call to give thanks to Him in their circumstances. And don’t miss it….Paul is showing the others how to give thanks to God, on the eve of the shipwreck, not after they’ve been rescued from it. How about you and I? When we’re standing at the threshold of a shipwreck, do we stop to give thanks to God? The counsel of the word in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. Like Paul, let us be found offering our thanks to the Father whether it be before, during, or after we face the tempest of the day.
Remember, your shipwreck could be another person's rescue at sea. Today, let’s face our storms like someone else’s life depends upon it.
Tuesday: John 11:1-44
Wednesday: 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Thursday: 1 Peter 1:6-7
Friday: Mark 4:35-41
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