The Storm-Tossed Ship
Open Your Bible
Acts 27:1-44, Acts 28:1-10, Mark 16:17-18, Luke 12:4-7
BY Erin Davis
When my dad met me in the courtyard to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, his face was green—literally green.
In celebration of my pending nuptials he joined my groom-to-be and all of the groomsmen on a wedding day deep sea fishing excursion. That’s how we learned that the deep sea is no place for my dad. He became so seasick that his skin looked green, even hours after the boat returned to the dock.
When I read about Paul’s sailing “adventures” in Acts 27–28, my dad’s seasick face comes to mind. As one often does when recounting something harrowing, the writer of these verses shares every detail. His descriptive words paint a picture of a trip gone terribly wrong: Dangerous. Disaster. Unsuitable. Fierce. Severely battered. Raging.
What my dad endured was nothing like what Paul and his companions went through. Yet we can all picture ourselves in the eye of a terrible storm. No, I’ve never been stuck at sea. I’ve never clung to a physical mast while winds and waves blocked the stars from my view, but I know how it feels to be storm tossed, to be pummeled by the tempests of life and wonder if I would survive. I think of the storm of my parent’s divorce. The storm of hearing that my child might not make it. The storm of painful church conflict. The storm of a severed friendship. The storm of cultural upheaval. The storm of my mother’s illness.
Because the storms keep raging, we all know how it feels when “all hope [is] fading that we [can] be saved” (Acts 27:20). As I consider the storm-tossed life, the story of Paul’s shipwreck tosses me a life raft of hope. Consider your own rough seas as you reflect on Acts 27:43–44.
But the centurion kept them from carrying out their plans because he wanted to save Paul, and so he ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to follow, some on planks and some on debris from the ship. In this way, everyone safely reached the shore.
Though the going is rarely easy, the Lord who commands the seas and the storms always keeps us from sinking. Though we may be battered and bruised by our brokenness, still we can cling to hope in Christ. In every storm He is our anchor and the storm-tossed life will not end with our demise. Today we can keep paddling homeward even if we’re only clinging to the planks of our hope. Because Christ has promised the storms will not sink us. Someday we will safely reach heaven’s shore.