#carmelprays – Acts 27:1-38
Opening Song: Behold Our God
Read Scripture: Acts 27:1-38
In today’s passage, we learn of Paul’s long journey to Rome. Paul and his fellow travellers passed through many ports, and experienced many delays. It is suggested that their journey was delayed by such a large extent that it was already winter. Most sailors did not sail during the winter season because the seas were stormy, dangerous and on the whole unfavourable to sail in. These conditions turned out to be a recipe for disaster, and Paul experienced his fourth shipwreck on this voyage (most of us, by God’s grace, do not experience one of these in our lifetimes).
Despite these events, Paul continued to be a shining beacon of hope in these dark hours and there are a few things we can learn from his attitude and actions.
Firstly, Paul demonstrates Christ-like love and kindness to the men on the ship.
In verse 10, Paul warns the centurion and men on the ship that it would be unwise to set sail in such conditions. Paul’s warning comes from a place of experience, having sailed in these seas for many years, as well as God-given wisdom. The centurion ends up ignoring Paul’s words and follows the advice of the pilot and owner of the ship.
Many of us, if in Paul’s shoes, would feel extremely unhappy if our advice was ignored or not taken seriously, and would angrily remark “I told you so!” when the disaster we warned others about actually materialized. We might decide that we didn’t want to pitch in and help anymore, since no one took our advice the first time. However, Paul remains calm and demonstrates his Christ-like love and graciousness, by encouraging the men on the ship to keep up their courage (v22-v25) and continuing to contribute helpful advice.
Apart from his close companions, Paul was not related in any way to the other two hundred or so people on board the ship. Regardless, he showed concern for all of them through his actions of reminding them to eat and continuously stepping up to lead and encourage.
Paul’s attitude and actions mirror that of Jesus Christ, in that he is forgiving, understanding and is salt and light to those around him.
Secondly, Paul relies on and has faith in God.
In v23-25, Paul shares with the men on the ship that an angel of God came to him in a dream, and comforted him that the lives of everyone on the ship would be spared. Paul has faith in God that what the angel told him is the truth. Paul also gladly proclaims that he belongs, serves and trusts in God. Many people in Paul’s situation would be filled with panic, and try to fix the problem at hand by themselves, forgetting that they can rely on, pray to and have faith in God. Though such reactions of fear and panic are understandable, we can all learn from Paul and learn to seek God and trust Him more in times of trouble, having faith that He will see us through.
Having faith in God and trusting Him is something I often find very difficult because I always feel the need to be in control of things, and have everything planned out. However, what I have learnt over time is that we can’t read the future, or be certain about the uncertain. Only God knows what plans he has in store for us! One verse I keep close to my heart about having faith in God, and what faith is about is Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Though most of us will not have a life as eventful as that of Paul and other apostles, we can certainly learn from their attitudes and actions and strive to become more Christ-like in our daily lives!
Pray in Response
Lord, thank you for blessing us with this time of reflection and devotion. Thank you for showing us how we can become more like you through the actions of your disciples. Teach us to rely and have faith in You, and give us the strength to become more forgiving, understanding and encouraging in our daily lives. We pray all these in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Response Song: More Like Jesus
By Fide Lai