“But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.”” –Acts 27:21-26 NKJV
Imagine the scene: Paul had already warned them not to go. He told them all that this journey would end in certain disaster. Now that the disaster has come, Paul is forced to ride this sinking ship all the way into the ground. This is very symbolic for the journey that many men and women of faith are called to today. Maybe you've found yourself in a sinking work environment: the boss has no idea what he's doing and you are being dragged along through what you know will end in disaster. Perhaps it is a sinking marriage or family situation: ungodly leadership or lack of moral integrity has thrown your ship of home life into chaos that seems destined for disaster. Maybe it's a school project, a precious relationship, a ministry, a dream, an expectation or project. But it has crashed and burned, gone down in flames. What are the righteous to do?
In the midst of chaotic trauma, where all involved are filled with the expectation of disaster, Paul was still able to be a positive influence and encourage wicked men, drawing them to salvation of hope. Let's look at what he did:
- V.21- He Stood in the Midst of Them — He refused to run from them. Paul was committed to stick with them. Quitters never prosper in the Kingdom of God.
- V.21- He refused to be the judge & jury — Paul had a powerful temptation to become angry or bitter with these fools. Very easily could've said, "I told you this would happen, you bunch of idiots. You got what's coming to you." He was able to encourage even though hey ignored his advice.
- V.22- "I urge you to take heart" — His message in the disaster was encouragement, not doom and disaster. What's your message while the ship is sinking?
- V.23- He heard from God — "Do not be afraid, Paul" In the chaos, God was still able to get Paul's attention and deliver him from fear.
- V.25- Faith — "I believe God" Paul's faith was contagious, was expectant, that even though the disaster was real his faith was even more real. We can learn here from his example
In a chaotic world, filled with those expecting disaster, God still causes us to be an encouragement to the world around us. Can you still be a light in the darkness when the ship you are sailing on is bound for disaster?