Summary: Each of us will face storms in our lives from this story we discover ways to survive those storms.
Facing the Storms of Life
(That video I think was taken off the coast of New Zealand, sometimes on you tube it is identified as being off of Newfoundland or Grand Manan, it’s not.)
Have you ever been in a really great storm? I mean a doozy of a storm? Do you remember when Juan swept through in September 03? I woke up in the middle of the night when the power went out, it actually flickered and the printer cycled on and off and woke me up. I remember hearing the wind and rain and looking out the window into the pitch black night and thinking “What a waste of a good storm, I can’t see it.” We had friends at the time who were single and silly and they got in their jeep and spent the night chasing the hurricane around the city, they were down at the waterfront in Bedford and Halifax and at Point Pleasant Park and they told us later what a hoot it had been.
As most of you know before I went into the ministry I spent a couple of years at sea with my dad on salvage tugs as well as a commercial fishing boat and during that time we spent more than a few day at sea in storms. I always found it interesting to see the point in the storm that I would go from being sick to being scared. In the scripture that was read earlier we saw that point arrive in Acts 27:20 The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.
A little bit of the back story here. Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem for preaching the gospel and then is sent to Caesarea to present his case before King Agrippa, and we will look at that next week. Now he has requested the opportunity to appeal his case before Caesar in Rome. Let’s pull down one of our trusty maps here. Here is Jerusalem, and here is Caesarea where their voyage begins. And here is Rome where they were heading, and obviously this would be the quickest way, but Luke tells us that there were supposed to make several stops along the way, apparently they were travelling on what would be called a costal freighter today. So their first stop was in Sidon and from there they head out and encounter the first of a number of storms, and so they decide to stay north of Cyprus and land at a port by the name of Myra. From there they are transferred to an Egyptian ship that is heading to Rome. Back at sea they encounter another storm and end up at a harbour named Fair Haven. And it is at that point we read this account Acts 27:9-10 We had lost a lot of time. The weather was becoming dangerous for sea travel because it was so late in the fall, and Paul spoke to the ship’s officers about it. “Men,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on—shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.”
But what did Paul know? He wasn’t a sailor, so the captain decided to sail further up the coast to a more sheltered harbour by the name of Phoenix. And mixing metaphors that’s when the wheels came off the wagon and where we came into the story.
Now most of us will never be in a storm at sea, at least you want to hope you won’t it really isn’t a lot of fun, people get hurt, equipment gets damaged and sometimes you throw-up on yourself, not that I would know about the last one personally it’s just something I read in a book.
But every one of us here without exception will face storms in our lives. They might be storms in your relationships. Perhaps with a spouse or parents or children. It might be a financial storm, some of you went through that this past year, or it might be a storm as it relates to your health, and there are some of you here today who are in the midst of that particular storm even as I speak. And I am familiar with some of your storms, we have talked, you have asked for advice or prayer and I know what you are going though. But there are others here today who are good at hiding the difficulties in their lives. It might be the way you were brought up or a matter of pride I don’t know, but right now the wind is blowing and the seas are threatening to capsize you and you are terrified.
So. . . what can we learn from this story? Let’s begin with the storm itself. Acts 27:13-14 When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete. But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength (called a “northeaster”) burst across the island and blew us out to sea.