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. 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.

  2. 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.”

  3. 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.

  4. 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“.

  5. 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)

  6. Mari V says:

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

  7. Victoria E says:

    Traci I am praying for Tanner.

  8. 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.

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