Summary: Many lessons can be learned from Paul’s shipwreck experience, Life can be full of heartache, disappointment, and grief; but we still have abundant reason to "BE OF GOOD CHEER."
There is nothing righteous about a gloomy, despondent, pessimistic attitude in a believer. In fact, these things are the opposite of righteousness. Those who honor God the most are those who walk before Him with a cheerful heart, full of joy, believing His precious word and rejoicing in His glorious gospel. Paul was in the most perplexing of circumstances, so far as outward evidence was concerned; all hope of being delivered from the dilemma he was in was gone.
Yet he found cause to rejoice and reason to hope; "Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer; for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me" (Vs. 25). Let me encourage you to be of "good cheer." No matter what the day may hold, no matter how bleak the outcome may seem, no matter how severe the pain may be, no matter how hopeless the situation appears to be "Be of good cheer." If you belong to Him in the eternal covenant of mercy, if you are called by His effectual grace, you have every reason to "be of good cheer."
Search the scripture and see if this is not true! "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28). God said, "rejoice in the Lord always;…." (Phil.4:4). Our Lord told the man who was paralyzed, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee" (Matt. 9:2). He told His disciples who were tossed about in a violent storm upon the sea, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid" (Matt. 14:27).
He told the disciples on another occasion that they would have trouble; but He added, "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 6:32-33). Life can be full of heartache, disappointment, and grief; but we still have abundant reason to "BE OF GOOD CHEER."
Many lessons can be learned from Paul’s shipwreck experience, but none is more important than this: No matter how dismal and hopeless your circumstances may be; God is never too far away to reach into your life and make it better. You may be tested as was Job, but just wait and your change will come. Your steps may be slowed and your shoulders bent beneath a load of care, but do not lose patience. Delivery and victory may be just a prayer away.
I call these words a strange request because of the circumstances under which they were uttered. Paul and two hundred and seventy-five others had been at the mercy of a relentless storm for some fourteen days. They had seen neither sun nor stars.
In verse 10 Paul had attempted to persuade the captain of the vessel not to sail.
"Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives" (vs:10). The centurion chose to believe the ship’s owner and shipmaster rather than this Jewish prisoner. It is not uncommon for men to believe words falling from worldly lips rather than accept the inspired word of God’s servant.
Paul later on reminded them of their refusal to listen to his inspired word and the danger that had befallen the ship and all aboard. Paul’s perception of danger had to have come from a divine source because Paul was not a man of the sea nor was he a forecaster of the weather.
You might say, in a common phrase, that Paul "had a feeling" that something was going to go wrong. Now don’t be in a hurry to say that this is not reasonable.
God is not locked into the principle of logic. He is sovereign and He can exercise His power in anyway that He chooses.
I heard about a mother who pleaded with her son. "Not to go out one night." The boy asked his mother for a reason. Her reply was only, "I just have a feeling that something is going to go wrong." The son laughed and rudely brushed past his mother and out of the house. Less than one hour later, the police brought her the news that her child had been stabbed to death. Do not ignore a "feeling’ that enters into your heart. It may just be the ‘still small voice’ of the Lord.
Not long after they had set sail, Paul’s perception became a fearsome reality. There arose a tempestuous wind. The waves lifted high above the ship; the winds blew angrily; rain poured forth with driving force; the gale beat upon the vessel with unending rage; the sail was torn asunder, and they just drifted alone.
They were at the mercy of the sea. All hope of survival had vanished. Everyone though that death was at hand—everyone, that is, except Paul.