Day 39

The Storm-Tossed Ship

from the Acts reading plan


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.

Post Comments (38)

38 thoughts on "The Storm-Tossed Ship"

  1. 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.

  2. Traci Gendron says:

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

  3. 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.

  4. Jane K says:

    Thank you Tina❤️

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Nancy Singleton says:

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

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