The Storm-Tossed Ship

Open Your Bible

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

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.

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38 thoughts on "The Storm-Tossed Ship"

  1. AG says:

    A day behind but thankful for this devotional today. My grandma is sick and I am considering myself in a “storm”. Praying to keep hope and encourage her to keep fighting.

  2. Brooke P says:

    Completely agree Victoria E.! Praise God for his faithfulness, for his all knowing, I’m thankful he sees the full picture. He is a good father who delights in giving his children gifts. I think we forget that the heavenly spiritual realm has order, an order that we can’t possibly understand in this broken chaotic world.

  3. Skylar Hilton says:

    Acts 27 reminds me of when God warns us to not do something.. and in our sinful rebellious attitude we do it.. and realize He was right. But like Paul, He doesn’t rub it in our faces and say “I told you so”.. rather.. He might chasten us a little.. because we need to know to never be disobedient unto Him ever again.. and when we repent.. He forgives our sins. I can’t believe we are almost done with Acts.. God is working within all of us. Im so happy!

  4. Rhonda J. says:

    Praying for Tanner, and you, dear Traci. I hope you can feel our arms around you in hugs and support.

  5. Laurie Crary says:

    Amen Poppy.

  6. Kelly says:

    Traci may the Lord fill you with peace in this storm!. Heavenly Father be with Tanner may he sense Your presence even in the ICU. Give the doctors ans nurses wisdom. AMEN

  7. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I love how it doesn’t matter what life throws Paul’s way, he still finds a way to glorify and worship God. I’m sure it was a testimony to all those men when they ended up surviving after they all thought they would perish. I pray I would be able to trust and praise God in the midst of the trials of life.

  8. Jessi says:

    I listened to a devo from Christy Wright this morning on my walk and I think it relates to today’s reading: “Stop striving and trying so hard and instead live from a place of victory and freedom in Him.”

  9. Mercy says:

    This reading just emphasized the long and deep suffering of Paul, through both physical and mental distress in a prolonged time. It makes me realize the one ignored/ rarely talked about truth: God’s people are not exempt from harsh suffering (like Job), but instead is trained and will go through it. So when much suffering comes, how do we react? My go to reaction is God please remove it, please shorten it, but my past experiences say otherwise. God allowed some season of suffering to go on for years, and He walked with me through it (not removing it). His companionship was there. There is a God-ordained purpose in suffering, to strengthen us again and again, from season to season, and it’s not the devil’s work, no it’s not. God allows these sufferings through different levels and extents, different stretches of our circumstances, to the point we can bear. Or else, we would be weak Christians, wrapped in cotton ball. Paul stood firm, and was of good cheer. Lord, I know it’s easier said than done, may your power and grace come as the suffering arises that each and any one of us can get through the “ship wreck level of training” and arrive to land safely, with cheer and hope in our hearts, only by your power this could be done. All glory be to You Lord.

  10. Mari V says:

    Tina, I can’t wait to meet you someday. It warms my heart that those words come to my mind as well. “This was not my home, I’m just passing through“.

  11. Mari V says:

    When my life took up 180° turn just over four years ago, I never knew how God was going to use this. If I had to go through this just so that I can talk to young ladies about emotional and mental abuse, then so be it as long as it prevents them from ever entering a such relationship and very unpleasant road. (for lack of better words)

  12. Mari V says:

    “Someday we will safely reach Heaven’s shore.” I can’t wait.

  13. Victoria E says:

    Traci I am praying for Tanner.

  14. Victoria E says:

    Tina thank you for praying. Poppy you said what I was thinking perfectly ! We can believe God when He says He will do something. Oftentimes the enemy tries His oldest trick in the book, making me think “did God really say…?” Like he did to Eve in the garden. Jane K I am praying for your sister and her husband. God is faithful to get us through even something so horrible as losing a child, but it is so horrible and sad. I think someone said here a few days ago that she could give up anything as long as it didn’t involve her family and I have often felt the same. Losing our unborn child in April was so difficult I would rather have lost our house, savings, even my own health, anything but that. But God, He can get us through even that.

  15. Dorothy says:

    Erin’s last paragraph really spoke to me. This whole devotional was as though she was talking to me in parts of it. God, Christ and the Spirit have been my rock and foundation so many times in my life and I know from personal experience when a friend is needed all I have to do is pray. My father told my oldest brother, he and my mom were visiting when my son died, when called and told that my son was dead and asked how I would handle it by my brother, her faith runs deep she will handle well. I’m over sixty, spent over forty years in nursing, and still “my faith runs deep” through the loss of a son, a niece, both parents, a divorce, family turmoil and a nephew who is a fugitive. I know the Lord will be with me. I have been able to see my other son succeed in his life even after some set backs. He now has a great job, a beautiful house and wonderful, caring and supportive fiancé. I saw my niece reaffirm her life to the Lord before leaving this world. And most of all I have a very supportive and loving family, who I know would drop anything and come if I truly needed them. I praise the Lord every day for what I have. THANK YOU LORD!!! You are an AWESOME and WONDERFUL GOD.
    Oh my I’ve rambled too long.
    Have a fantastic day sisters and praise God for even the little things and be blessed.

  16. Traci Gendron says:

    Tanner is in the ICU. So many thigs going wrong to go into detail. It’s bad. Please pray

  17. Gayla Jarrett says:

    I’ve been in a storm…the EF5 tornado in Joplin MO. I actually know what it feels life to literally cling to God for my life. Christ was our anchor and we are so thankful for his protection.

  18. Jane K says:

    Thank you Tina❤️

  19. SEARCHING says:

    Wow, blown away by yesterday’s testimonies! God is faithful and loves us so much.

    TINA – you mentioned words from an old song which started me thinking about the nuggets of truth in those old songs and hymns. I grew up with those oldie goldies and snippets will come to me “out of the blue” – the Lord reminding me of His love, faithfulness and provision at just the right time.

    JANE K – praying especially for your sister and her husband to lean on and be comforted by the Lord in the midst of their pain

    RHONDA J – I’m so proud of your niece for her bravery through this pregnancy and that she has pressed on through her fears and anxiety. Thinking of a friend and her adopted daughter, a wonderful young lady that loves the Lord. Her birth mother had an appointment to end the pregnancy (late term) and through God working in amazing and unbelievable ways, a connection was made that resulted in appointment cancellation and adoption by my friend. My heart is touched by your niece and young women like her.

    JESSICA FEHLAND – praying for you and your 7 year old. I’m sure you’ve tried many approaches and every child is different. One thing I’ve tried (can’t remember if someone suggested it or I read it somewhere) and had some success with is telling him/her 2 or 3 things that have to be done and then asking which one they want to do first, and repeating the tasks and question through the protests and refusals. The perfectionist in me has also had to stop and think, does this really need to be done or done my way? On some things, my mind says yes but my heart says no. I’ll be praying for things to smooth out.

    MELANIE – praying for all children to get better quickly!

    ELAINE MORGAN – thank you for sharing your testimony. Praying for you, your daughter, her children and her mother-in-law.

  20. hope says:

    I am so grateful for the SRT community. So many good comments and great insight.
    Acts 27: 35-36 gives us a small detail that is a rich gem. Paul gives thanks and breaks bread with those on board. This links us back to Jesus breaking bread with the disciples. It shows us Paul meeting the physical needs of those around him which greatly encourages them. Most importantly it models for us a heart attitude. Paul is giving thanks in the midst of the storm. He is trusting in God to see him through to the shore. He’s giving thanks before the deliverance.
    How often is it that I give thanks after God has proven His goodness? I am convicted in my heart. Praise be to God now, in the midst of my storm.
    ERB and Poppy, what you both shared today really resonated with me. Thank you!
    I had to type this three times. It kept auto deleting. So, maybe someone here in this community really needed this too. Praise God now, in the midst of your storm.

  21. Jessi says:

    Poppy and ERB, thank you, your words spoke to me today. Since starting to read and study the Bible, I have started to recognize my need for control and having a plan (my plan) for everything. I now see that yes, having a plan and direction is good but I also pray and understand that God’s plan will be done. It has given me so much peace and I finally feel that I am (sometimes) able to give up control, pray and relax.

  22. Nancy Singleton says:

    ERB & Poppy Waskett- Agreeing with you wholeheartedly in prayer. You articulated my thoughts & feelings perfectly!

  23. Angela Flowers says:

    I’m so thankful for his guidance and presence during storms! May I always be aware that he is there when I’m going through them.

  24. Aimee D-R says:

    Father let me always have faith and hope and trust like Paul. In Jesus name, Amen

  25. Taylor says:

    The Lord is faithful, and He will keep us from sinking. He is our only hope in the storm !

  26. Elaine Morgan says:

    I love today’s study! How can anyone read stories like this and say that life as a Christian is boring?!! People think they have to give up adventure and fun and all the enjoyment of life to follow Christ. If they would just read the Bible and listen to all the stories of how God works in our lives through the Holy Spirit and Jesus they would see how much more exciting it can be. Sure, we have brokenness and tribulations to deal with but the difference is that we have assurance that no matter what happens we have God as our Father and His promises are true. Oh to have the faith of Paul! Have a God filled day dear sisters!

  27. Penny Courtney says:

    Hanging onto the Plank of Hope, my Jesus, our Lord. He will get me safely to Shore.

  28. ERB says:

    I also really appreciated how Mark 16:17-18 tied in with the first few verses in Acts 28. Such a great and powerful reminder as well as a testimony!!! SO Good!!!

  29. ERB says:

    I know this is going to seem silly compared to the craziness of the raging storm that was going on in chapter 27 but the verse that stood out to me the most was this one:
    “Some sailors tried to escape from the ship; they had let down the skiff into the sea, pretending that they were going to put out anchors from the bow.” (Acts 27:30)
    It made me ask myself how many time had I done this? Pretended to be doing something when really I was doing something else… and also, how many times have I tried to escape and rescue myself instead of trusting & obeying God and letting Him rescue me…
    Wow. God forgive my arrogance!
    Help me to TRUST in and OBEY You and You alone!! Help me to clearly recognize, hear & discern YOU in the people you have placed in my life and surrounded me with. I want ears that hear and eyes that see. Thank You Lord. Amen!

  30. Jessica Fehland says:

    Thank you God for knowing us fully! For rescuing and sheltering us from the storms

  31. Tina says:

    As I read through the devotional, I was transported to the song YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL by Phil Wickham..
    I cannot hear it without tears joyfully running down my face..

    Storms are part of life, whether the environmental type, or the traumas that knock us sideways or for six, the harder the ‘storm’ the greater the pain, the bigger the heartache.. where our hearts are concerned..

    BUT GOD..

    What I have learnt, is that, that ‘storm’ is not the end of me! That ‘storm’ is the beginning of me. I have and had to go through them to emerge braver, stronger, confident, helpful to others.. my experience of that ‘storm’, whichever one comes to mind grew me, drew me closer to God, and has me leaning even more each time the waves begin to crash against my life..
    Most importantly, what I have learnt is that this world is not my home, I’m just passing through(as the old song goes), and that one day when “I arrive at eternity’s shores, where death, and pain and tears are no more, AND I meet Him face to face, will I even remember the storms that caused me sleepless nights, thst caused my heart to shatter into so many pieces, I couldn’t breath.., thst caused me to contemplate calling it a day, that causes tears to flow, as I remember a beautiful girl who was taken from us too soon.. or will I just run to Him, and stay there knowing I am HOME!

    Home! Thank you Jesus. Thank you!

    Praying love wrapped in hope and prayers over you my sisters.. Be blessed today ❤

  32. Angie says:

    In BSF (such a deep and rich study ladies if you want to grow in the Word – they are all over the world both in person and online – Gwendolyn so glad for you that you do it too!) we were reading about the house built on the Rock and the other on the foundation of the sand. In our study I was reminded that, storms come to both houses. Just because we build our life on the Rock does not mean we will not have storms. It does mean we are safe on the strong foundation of Jesus Christ.

    Love what you shared Poppy also. May we all stay out of the escape boats and remain anchored in and on our solid Rock, Jesus Christ.

  33. Kelly says:

    From the HRT devotional: “When we rest on the word of God in Scripture, we can confidently go through every circumstance of life in which He places us with a calmness.”

    This is my prayer for all of you dealing with anxiety!

    REMEMBER the Lord is faithful to help and preserve us through the storms, not from them.

  34. SarahJoy says:

    “Through the storm
    He is Lord, Lord of all!”
    – from the song Cornerstone by Hillsong

  35. Arina says:

    I loved this story as a child. It reads just like an adventure book. But Paul’s faith in the middle of the storm is so inspiring and convicting. God had told him they would survive and nothing what happened could make Paul doubt this. He even gave thanks in the middle of the storm. Believing God’s promises is not a matter of mustering up enough faith. No, we need to look to the God who has given the promise. He is the faithful One, every word He says will come to pass. We can fully trust Him, not because of our faith but because of who He is.

  36. TIna says:

    Morning Sisters, just responding to comments from yesterday, I hope that is okay..

    AMANDA, praying for your niece and friends, who st this time have many questions.. praying peace, God’s peace that surpasses ALL understanding over them and the parents of the one lost to them..

    VICTORIA E, God is good.., always, even when we believe there is no way. He is the God of the impossible..
    Sending you love and hugs across the pond and praying you are knowing God’s absolute best in this pregnancy..❤

    JANE K, I am sorry for your families loss. I will for sure be praying for your sister and husband as the navigate this painfilled season.
    God be with you all.❤

    RHONDA continued prayers for both nieces. God sees them both and He is as I write restoring their hearts..❤
    KATHYDo we not have a Father God who is faithful and true. Prsying He continue to bless you and yours❤

    HOPE,how can I not share the wonder, grace and love of One so faithful.. He loves YOU. ❤

    SARAHJOY Oh, how He loves us! The Bible tells us He will leave the 99 to go in search of one that is lost.. Thankful for the presence of your husband in your life..❤

    JESSICA FEHLAND, i am sorry for your troubles. I will be praying for you to find common ground and for peace to reign in your home.❤

    ELAINE MORGAN, I am so sorry for your loss.
    BUT GOD.. indeed! He will always provide for his children. His faithfulness is truly one to behold. Sending more love and hugs across the pond, dear heart..❤

    KRISTEN, God is so good, so very good! He sees, He hears, He cares, He loves. He is near! ❤


    MELANIE, I will for sure be praying for perfect healing, both in the physical and of the heart. Also praying for the little people to get better soon.
    Melanie, to answer your question as I see it, lives are intertwined, and sometimes, we get caught in the crossfire of other people’s lives, not our fault…
    BUT GOD, dear sister, He does see, and He holds you tight in these times. Trust Him. He will bring you through..❤




  37. Poppy Waskett says:

    God always has a rescue plan – through Christ I can be confident I will reach heavens shore safely, and also be confident that Christ is at work even when I feel I’m being battered by the storms of life. I am challenged by the small group that tried to escape on the life boat. I have some life boats in my life – idols that sometimes my unbelief in the rescue can tempt me to try and get a way out, not Gods way, but my way. I am thinking about these, convicted by the refuge I can try and find in those things like finding a refuge in my own mind and obsessions. Today I declare that I trust Christ to anchor me in the storm – I am moving, starting a new job and facing an ongoing mental health battle. But today I am trying to choose to trust God, to hold on and believe in the truth that Christ has promised that his grace is sufficient for me and I don’t need to create my own mini escape plan from the storms. God is my refuge and strength my ever present help in times of trouble. Even when the storms are raging I will believe and trust, he is the anchor to my soul. Thank you Jesus, I believe, but help my unbelief.

  38. Carol Rimmer says:

    Amen. We will safely reach home with the Lord as we put our faith in Him. Let’s keep hanging onto Him.