Summary: Storms of life come to all of us. They are unavoidable and unpreventable. In those times, faith is essential. The enemy would have us believe all hope is lost. God has promised we will make it through. We must choose whom we believe.
I Believe God
Acts 27: 20-25
Our text today deals with a difficult season in the life of Paul. He is on a journey, headed toward Rome to stand before his accusers in a court of law. Sensing the grave danger in proceeding at the present time, Paul urged those onboard with him to delay their travel until a more suitable time. Refusing to heed his warning, the ship sailed and soon was caught up in the midst of a ferocious storm, threatening the lives of all onboard.
While we are not on a ship, headed to Rome to stand trial, we are all on a journey through the sea of life. At times the sea is calm, and our journey is enjoyable. During other seasons, the waves are rough, and we are forced to sail within the storm. We need the faith Paul possessed when faced with those difficult seasons in life. While it is not easy, believers are promised safe passage to the other side. Maintaining our faith in the Lord will aid us on the journey.
I want to examine the details of the text as we consider the profound thought: I Believe God.
I. The Ferocity of the Storm (20) – And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. The storm Paul and the others faced was no passing gale, it was a strong tempest. We discover:
A. They were Disoriented (20a) – And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us. In those days ships did not enjoy all the modern navigational equipment used today – they depended on the sun and stars to guide their journey. For many days the storm had raged and they were unable to see the heavenly bodies for direction. They were in the midst of a great storm, and had no idea where they were or where they were headed.
While in the midst of adversity and storms, it is easy for even the strongest Christian to become disoriented in the journey. We must keep our eyes on the Son, if we are to maintain a proper direction. When the storm clouds cover our path, and we lose our focus, we are in danger of getting off course and into hazardous waters.
B. They were Discouraged (20b) – all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. Luke is along with Paul on this journey. He has recorded the book of Acts for us. In the midst of this ferocious storm, Luke admits that all hope of survival seemed gone. They were beginning to resign to defeat, feeling as if they all would perish at sea.
That is exactly the frame of mind the enemy wants every believer to possess. He wants to divert our focus from the Lord to the storm we face. He seeks to have us believe we will never survive the adversity we face, and there is no use to press on. He wants us to abandon our efforts and cease serving the Lord. No doubt we all have faced similar situations and have been tempted to abandon the faith. We must resist the urge to give up, look to the Lord by faith, and continue on in the journey, no matter how difficult it may be.
II. The Fervency of the Prayer (21) – But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. This verse reveals the fervency of Paul in prayer. While everyone else had given up hope, Paul remained resilient in prayer and hope in the Lord. Consider:
A. The Context (14-15, 18-19) – To fully appreciate the dedication of Paul, we must understand the adverse conditions they faced. The storm was so intense they had no control over the ship. The captain made the decision to let the ship go where she wished. Their path was literally being dictated by the storm. As the storm continued to rage, they were forced to begin throwing every-thing overboard in an effort to keep the ship afloat. There can be no doubt that the ship and those who sailed upon it were in a perilous situation.
Surely we have all faced a situation in life that resembled the dire situation Paul faced. We may not have been on a ship, in the midst of the sea, but we faced a situation so desperate that it genuinely dictated our course of life and actions. It seemed as if our lives were spiraling out of control, and we were simply trying to hang on and survive the storm. Maybe you tried to rid your life of perceived hindrances, and yet the storm was unrelenting. You felt as if you tried everything you could, and yet there appeared to be no end of the storm in sight.