Day 39

Paul Taken to Rome

from the Acts of the Apostles reading plan


Acts 27:1-44, Acts 28:1-10, Luke 12:4-7, Mark 16:17-18

BY Kaitlin Wernet

Text:  Acts 27:1-44, Acts 28:1-10, Luke 12:4-7, Mark 16:17-18

I don’t think Gladys and Ragamuffin #3 would have been friends. In fact, I don’t think they even knew each other existed or had anything in common, except for the fact that they were characters played in the same production of 42nd Street by the same actress—me.

They were polar opposites. Gladys was a seasoned Broadway showgirl, singing her heart out while teaching the lead how to tap dance. Ragamuffin #3 was an unnamed beggar, wearied by the Great Depression. I’d love to know what was running through the director’s mind as she cast the roles. When she spread out all of the submitted headshots and stared into those hopeful faces, I wonder what made her point to mine and think, Gladys! and… Ragamuffin #3.

Backstage, my dressing room had two separate racks. Gladys’ was all sequins and show, while Ragamuffin #3’s was bare and battered. During the show, I’d shuffle behind the curtains to apply or remove lipstick, change and adjust wigs, and look down to make sure I wasn’t wearing tap shoes with my beggar’s clothes. Any small change could poke holes in the audience’s perception of the story, so it was up to me to make sure Gladys and Ragamuffin #3 didn’t meet during the show.

Isn’t it funny how even the smallest details can create or destroy our perception?

If I take a seat in the audience of my own life, I begin to cast myself and my circumstances in the leading role. When I get a new job and move to a new city, I’m bathing in sequins for days. But when I’m tossing and turning, worrying about my relationships, I’m costumed in tattered old rags.

I wonder if those aboard the ship in Acts 27 felt like they were auditioning for forgotten, unnamed roles. The ship was seemingly built to wreck, the storm to destroy, the disease to kill, the crew to die. Any audience member would assume they’d been cast and chosen for the role of suffering. And yet, our circumstances don’t write our story; God does.

The ship crashes on the island of Malta and the turning point is seemingly nowhere in sight, when Paul breaks out of character, shedding the costume of suffering, and healing those around him. Now, the curtain could fall here and tell the wrong story, encouraging us to serve from our suffering and applaud the go-getter.

But what if that’s not what God has for us here? What if Jesus wants to meet us backstage and between the curtains, past the crowd and the circumstances? I don’t think God spreads our faces across a board, separating His children into categories of “suffering” and “celebrating.” Instead, He just claims us as “His,” over and over again. We are a chorus of His beloved sons and daughters.

When we let His truth about our identity create our perception, the focus is no longer the role of suffering or serving, but the One who combined the two on the cross. We need Ragamuffin #3 just as much as we need Gladys; but just as they are cast to tell a story, so are we.

May we renew our faith in the Director, and assume our appointed roles in the truthful pages of His gospel. Amen.

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Post Comments (60)

60 thoughts on "Paul Taken to Rome"

  1. Dawn says:

    I love the comparison of playing two characters in a play and having God meet us backstage to help us write the story. Thanks for the encouraging words.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Dawn, I’m so grateful this encouraged you. So glad you joined us today!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  2. churchmouse says:

    Difficulty. Dangerous. Fierce wind. Barely able to get control. Severely battered. Neither sun not stars appeared. The severe storm kept raging. All hope was disappearing. Take courage. No loss of life. An angel said. Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I believe God. Prayed for daylight to come. Gave thanks to God in the presence of all. Encouraged. Everyone safely reached the shore. Extraordinary kindness. Gave us what we needed.

    To me, these phrases pulled from today’s Scriptures, illustrate the Christian walk. Indeed each circumstance that comes my way , whether stormy or smooth sailing, is under God’s care. I needed this reminder today.

    1. Morgan says:

      I agree with you. Exactly what I needed as well.

    2. Rochelle says:

      so appreciate your take on today’s message, because it just wasn’t getting through. i need this; thanks.

  3. churchmouse says:

    Have missed you, Tina but have been trusting that you and our Jesus are walking as close together as always. So good to hear from you today. So good to hear peace and joy even as you face this year anniversary of your dad’s passing. Hugs to you from over here

    1. Tina says:

      Bless you my friend…Thank you…Hugs right back to you…xxx

  4. Gina says:

    Ok this is powerful scripture this morning. We all can relate to being caught in the storms of life and having no way out but to ride it out. But how encouraging to Paul that God comes to him in the middle of the storm and notice He doesn’t say, “peace, be still” like Jesus said to the storm when He was in the boat with the disciples but He assures him his journey in life was not over yet. He had more work for him to do. That was enough to keep Paul on the course that He had laid before him. And it not only encouraged Paul it also spoke loud and clear to all those around him about the faithfulness of God. Our days can be full of the storms of life and sometimes God will speak to them and say, peace be still and other times we have to ride it out with a promise of calmer waters ahead. No matter the circumstances surrounding us He is always there and faithful to speak peace to the storms or during the storms. But we must remain in the ship. “Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.””
    ‭‭Acts‬ ‭27:31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
    Our only safe place in life is with Him.

    1. SusieT says:

      “Our only safe place in life is with Him.” Yes! Gina, I like how you tied that in with Paul’s declaration that all aboard must stay on the ship to be saved. Thank you for sharing that thought!

  5. ~ B ~ says:

    Years ago, in a dessert season, God used this scripture to remind me of a hope I had as a young girl. One long forgotten through the trials of a tired life. It was a season I felt invisible, useless and purposeless. I felt that my needs, dreams and desires didn’t matter. I was beat up, bruised and worn beyond words and then this reminder; I had always been fascinated with Malta as a kid. I don’t know how it came to be, but I was. For years, I would talk about one day wanting to go, it was my dream place … this continued into adulthood, I even spoke of it to my husband in the early days but soon, life took over and before long I forgot how much I longed to see this beautiful Island. It didn’t become distant memory or wish, it became a forgotten one, completely and totally. Rocked by disappointment, pain, more emotional let downs that I can count my life had become more about getting through each day than dreaming of anything at all and in walked God again. One night as I had prayed about the storm of my life, I called about to God, begging that He would tell me something, something to do, to say … anything. Exclaiming how angry I was, that I didn’t feel I mattered, that there was no point. He lead me to this scripture. Reading it I cried thinking, “This, I need to be reminded how stormy it’s been? That this is one big giant shipwreck?”, irritated I flipped the page and these words flew out at me, “After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta.” MALTA!!! I broke down because immediately I remembered. Like flashes in a movie, it all came back. I remembered those dreams, those desires, I remembered Malta. All I could say was that I had forgotten but God responded with, “I didn’t Betsy!” I knew He was showing me that I would have my Malta, that I may never step foot on the actual island but that what it represented would be available to me … that those storms, THE storms would bring me to it and that God loved me so much He hadn’t forgotten even the most simple of a little girl’s dream. I needed to feel “seen” and He didn’t disappoint.

    “When we let His truth about our identity create our perception, the focus is no longer the role of suffering or serving, but the One who combined the two on the cross. We need Ragamuffin #3 just as much as we need Gladys; but just as they are cast to tell a story, so are we.”

    I had to know I was both “Gladys AND Ragamuffin #3”. I had to know that I was part of a story that wasn’t at all about ME, BUT that He believed I mattered in it. He doesn’t want to tell it without me. The storms of my life are beautiful and like an eloquent & emotional soliloquy they tell the story God has handwritten for me.

    1. Beth says:

      Betsy, thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes I believe the storm is about me — to get my attention so that He can to strip away all the things I thought were important, all the things I chose that took my attention away from the purpose He has for me — to bring Him glory with my life. Though I struggle against the storms, I see that God is giving me experiences that will lift up others when I get to the other side. Just like your story is such an encouragement. If I had my way, my life would have been entirely different. But the Ragamuffin me learned about empathy. Through my broken pieces, God’s light can shine through in colorful refracted patterns — like a stained glass window.

      1. ~ B ~ says:

        “Through my broken pieces, God’s light can shine through in colorful refracted patterns…” I love that Beth, such a beautiful picture and truth!

    2. Michelle says:

      Thank you for sharing this. You have reminded me that God still sees me even when I’m feeling overlooked and forgotten in the midst of my struggles and daily living. Something I really needed to be reminded of today.

      1. TIFFANI says:

        AMEN!! AMEN!! AMEN!! Thank You So Much!!

      2. ~ B ~ says:

        Prayerful that somehow God will remind you how important you are to Him, daily! You are not forgotten or overlooked!

    3. Tina says:

      -B~, Beautiful. I love this..″. I had to know that I was part of a story that wasn’t at all about ME, BUT that He believed I mattered in it. He doesn’t want to tell it without me. The storms of my life are beautiful and like an eloquent & emotional soliloquy they tell the story God has handwritten for me…. what truth. Sometimes we need reminding that God is the Author, and that the story He writes for each of us is beautiful, if we could just see and remember who the author is…God, and he is good..always..
      Blessing s dear heart…

      1. ~ B ~ says:

        Safe travels beautiful Tina! Many prayers over you!

    4. Kelly Smith says:

      I have goosebumps! Malta waits for us on the other side of the storm. I am so encouraged by this, Betsy!

    5. Hope says:

      This moment has passed for all of you. You have moved onto Mark and I trail behind. Today, I cried out to God literally asking him if all he wanted from me was suffering. The devotion hit home. Furthermore, I struggled but forced myself to read the comments because I always see God’s twinkling eye in each of your words. Today, its ~B~. I wish I knew you, like share a cup of coffee knew you, today. I had forgotten about Malta. I too shared your obsession. I literally haven’t thought of Malta in close to 20 years. I even wrote a story about Malta in my elementary school age years. I too planned to visit. Life beat the dream out of me. Truth be told, I’m still in the storm. I’m just praying to get through the day. I’m not even sure that I’m part of this story and that God wants me to see Malta. But I’m grateful to remember. Thank you for this, ~B~ , and thank you for this God.

  6. Kortina Smith says:

    These stories of courage and God writing the final scene are absolutely moving! And it continuously strengthens my faith in my creator. Just when we think all is lost (usually because we tried to write our own story), God comes in and gives us an outcome we were not expecting. It’s a constant reminder to follow His plan, and not our own. To not attempt to write our own story, but the follow the one beautifully made for our lives. I found peace in today’s message… Sisters I pray you are able to find peace as well. Shalom!

    http://www.eathappygranola.com

  7. Bee 3 says:

    I usually share the daily devo on Facebook but today the link doesn’t work. :(

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Bee 3! It seems to be working on our end. Maybe try refreshing or using a different browser? I hope this helps!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  8. Tina says:

    Kaitlin, this was lovely…I can so absolutely understand where you are coming from….
    As I return with my brother to Ghana, for the year anniversary of Daddy being called home, one of the things we plan to do is put a headstone to mark where we buried him….we have been selecting and have now chosen a style with a slight change to the design. I have asked that where the writing will be, be in the shape of a book, for the reason that Daddy’s life, and indeed our lives are stories, full of testimonies of good, of bad, of Grace, Love, forgiveness, provision, lack, kindness, peace, chaos….but, and by Gods Grace, and along with Him, our lives meet each day as God intended, HOPE filled and with Grace, Love, Faith in the wings….
    Kaitlin, you so nailed it when you highlighted these words…our circumstances don’t write our story; absolutely not, God does…
    Definitely claiming, this morning, my place in the chorus of His beloved sons and daughters….
    Amen.

    Missing you all, as life speeds up a notch….not having time to comment, but still here in the sidelines, watching and listening…
    Praying still that God bless you and keep you, may He turn His face to shine on you….hugs and Love always…xxx

    1. Dana says:

      With you Tina. And may He bless you and keep you, may He turn His face to shine on you.

      1. Tina says:

        Dana, thank you for your prayer of blessing…God be with you…xx

    2. Nancy says:

      As Kaitlin said, “We are a chorus of His beloved sons and daughters.” Have missed you in the chorus Tina. I always love reading your comments. God bless you and keep you in this busy time.

      1. Tina says:

        Nancy, you are kind, you haven’t heard me sing…lol Thankful our Heavenly Father hears me differently…
        I have been silent, but am here still..and continue to walk alongside…I will be back, proper , soon…hugs..xxx

    3. ~ B ~ says:

      Yay! It is so good to see you hear T! Prayerful as you return to Ghana, that you will be filled with great peace and fond memories as you celebrate your sweet father. Safe travels and best wishes beautiful friend!

      1. Tina says:

        Thank you dear friend…Love you right back….xxxx

    4. Kelly Smith says:

      Hugs to you, Tina! God is writing a beautiful story in and around you!

      1. Tina says:

        Hugs right back to you Kelly, with extra love….
        Blessings friend..xx

    5. Tricia says:

      Good to hear from you Tina. I’ve missed your comments. God bless you Sister.

      1. Tina says:

        Dear Tricia, thank you ….God bless you too..BIG hug coming your way…xx

    6. Debbie says:

      So missing you as well, Sister, peace be with you!

      1. Tina says:

        Debbie, receiving you prayer with a grateful heart…Thank you…
        May peace and Grace be yours today and always…xx

    7. She Reads Truth says:

      Tina, it made my day to see you back! :)

      Please know that I’m praying for you, when you comment and when you’re quiet. So grateful for your encouraging heart.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

      1. Tina says:

        Kaitlin, thank you, thank you, thank you…I’m smiling right now…Bless you and thank you for carrying me each day in your heart…BIG hugs and love, beautiful you…xx

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