Summary: We all face storms in life. What are we to do in the midst of a storm?
A passenger on an ocean liner was enduring a rough Atlantic crossing. As he leaned over the rail, his face a shade of green, a steward came along and tried to encourage him: “Don’t be discouraged, sir! No one’s ever died of seasickness yet!” The nauseous passenger looked up at the steward with horror and said, “Don’t say that! It’s only the hope of dying that’s kept me alive this long!”
That’s probably how Paul’s fellow-passengers felt after two weeks of enduring the storm at sea. Not only were they sick; after not being able to see the sun or stars for many days, they had lost all hope of being saved (27:20). In the same way, when people go through severe storms in life, often they lose all hope.
Storms comes to all humanity. The fact that we are saved and members of the family of God does not eliminate trouble or storms from our lives. There is really no way to know when and where trouble will come. One minute the south wind may be blowing softly, and the next minute a tempestuous wind may be blowing.
What are we to do when storms come? Acts 27 presents us with some valuable principles that we need to apply in our lives in the midst of the storms.
What am I to do when it seems all hope is taken away?
I. RETIRE IN PRAYER (21)
There had been some fasting on this voyage.
Even though the SUN had not appeared for many days (20), Paul had seen the SON.
Seeing the SON calmed Paul.
See Isaiah 40:31.
A. Strength will be renewed
B. Soaring will return
C. Speed will be regained
D. Step will be retained
When trouble comes, find a place and get along with God.
See Matthew 14:12.
See Luke 18:1.
II. REST IN HIS PRESENCE (23a)
When trouble comes to the child of God, if only we would rest in His presence.
Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though....”
Isaiah 43:2 “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
The God who was with Jeremiah, Paul, Peter in prison, with Daniel in the lion’s den , with the three Hebrew Children in the fiery furnace and was with Paul upon the angry storm tossed sea will be with all His children when trouble comes.
Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave thee”
In this case, it was not the Lord Himself who appeared to Paul (as in 23:11), but His angel (27:23). But it had the same effect, to remind Paul that God was always with him, always aware of the storms that he was going through. When He gave the Great Commission, our Lord promised, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto to the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20). Here Paul again experiences the reality of that promise. He had experienced it when he was afraid in Corinth. The Lord appeared to him and promised, “for I am with you” (Acts 18:9-10). Paul had also experienced it when he was in custody in Jerusalem, and the Lord stood at his side and said, “Be of good cheer,” and promised that he would bear witness at Rome (23:11). He would later experience it at his final imprisonment, just before his
execution. He told Timothy that no one supported him, but all deserted him. Then he added, “the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (2 Tim. 4:17).
I have felt His presence with me in times of great need, and it has flooded me with encouragement.
Late in his life, the great pioneer missionary to Africa, David Livingstone, received an honorary doctorate from Glasgow University. As he rose to speak, he was gaunt and haggard as a result of the hardships he had gone through in tropical Africa. He left arm, crushed by a lion, hung helplessly at his side as he announced his resolve to return to Africa without misgiving and with great gladness. He added, “Would you like me to tell you what supported me through all the years of exile among a people whose language I could not understand, and whose attitude toward me was often uncertain and often hostile? It was this: ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ On these words I staked everything, and they never failed!”
You don’t want to live without that sensitivity to the presence of God. There is no companionship like the unfailing presence of God.
Who can cheer the heart like Jesus, By His presence al divine? True and tender, pure and precious, O how bless to call Him mine!