Riding Out the Storms of Life
Sometimes the sea is calm and the wind blows softly. But other times the wind rises, the sky darkens, and we find ourselves in the midst of a terrible storm. We know that’s the way life is, and in Acts 27 we read of such a storm in the life of the apostle Paul.
Arrested simply for preaching the gospel of Christ, Paul is now being taken to Rome to be adjudicated when they encountered a huge storm. Perhaps you’re even in the midst of a terrible storm yourself, and all hope has seemed to vanish.
First we need to realize there are many different types of storms we all encounter. Then we’re going to see what Paul did in his storm and what we can do.
Sinking the Ship
The sailors on Paul’s ship actually took some actions that made things worse. We tend to do some of these same things when we find ourselves in a storm. Let’s look at some of the ways wesink the ship.
Make decisions in haste. Verse nine says much time had past, and they felt they had to do something. Have you heard some say “Let’s do something even if it’s wrong!” If you’re in the middle of a decision, wait on God. If you feel something pushing you, I can assure you it’s not the Holy Spirit. He leads and He guides, but He doesn’t shove.
Depend upon worldly wisdom rather than godly wisdom. The captain and owner of the ship believed each other instead of Paul (verse 11). Don’t go to the people of this world and ask them what to do. Seek a godly counselor ─ one that bases their counsel on the Word of God.
Take the easy way out. Because the harbor wasn’t up to their standards, they decided to depart hastily (Acts 27:12).When they made their decision, it was based on what would be easy. Almost always you’ll find trouble this way! Sometimes, we’re called upon to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.
Follow the crowd. There was a crowd on that boat. When they took a vote, Paul was outvoted (verse 12). They said, “Let’s sail.” But if you think about it, often the majority is wrong. Don’t get the idea that if everybody says it, then it’s right. You may go from person to person trying to get permission to do what you already decided to do, but frequently, the majority is simply a lot of people pooling their ignorance.
Depend upon circumstances. In Acts 27:13 they said, “The sun is shining, the sea is calm, and the wind is blowing in our direction; it must be the right thing.” There are a lot of people who are led by circumstances and say, “Lord, it must be Your will. It looks good.” But that soothing south wind may turn into a horrible, ferocious storm.
Responding to Rain
When they found themselves in the teeth of this torrential rainstorm, the ungodly on this ship reacted in some curious ways.
In contrast to ungodly responses, Paul said “Be of good cheer” (vv. 22 and 25). Can you imagine saying that in the midst of these problems? But the same One Who gave him songs in the night in a dungeon at Philippi gave him peace in the midst of this storm — His name is Jesus.
We serve a mighty God! You may fail, flounder, and sin; but God is ultimately in control. Paul believed in God and could say, “Be of good cheer,” even in the midst of his storm. And you can too—by relying on the same God Who brought him through the storm.