Read This Week: Acts 27

When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar, and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. In this way, everyone reached land safely. – Acts 27:13-14, 23-25, 44 NIV

There are times when we think the worst of our challenges are over. We believe the storm subsided and that we are sailing for better weather when on the horizon, there are dark, ominous clouds and a threat of another storm. These seasons are among the most confusing, frustrating, and difficult that we can experience in life. Yet, they can also be some of the most enriching, faith-building, and clarifying.

Acts 27 captures this idea for the Apostle Paul. He has endured ridicule in Jerusalem, been accused of multiple crimes, imprisoned, stood trial on two occasions, and is now boarding a boat for the voyage to stand trial in Rome. Before they set sail, Paul gives them a warning: “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” But the Roman centurion doesn’t listen and orders the captain and crew to begin the trip.

Once they got going, the gentle wind helping them move became a violent storm surge, just as Paul predicted. Verses 13-19 capture the scene and predicament:

The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. We were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, so the men hoisted it aboard. We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

The storm was so bad and violent and unmanageable that after expending all efforts to withstand it, they gave up hope that it would end and they would be rescued. This part of the story is not unlike so many scenarios in our lives. We find ourselves in the storm of negative and challenging circumstances, and it seems like everything we try is not working or making it better. We want to give up and lose hope that it is ever going to end. Then, at the right time, God often shows up.

Verses 23- 26 says this, “Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” It is often in our darkest and most desperate moments when God comes and stands beside us. He comes on the scene with His transcendent power and stands with us amid the storm surge. It is here when we feel His presence and are assured of his promises. It is here where we find the faith to stand up to the wind and the courage to press on amid the high waves.

The last line of this chapter is one of the great culminating statements in the entire book of Acts. It just simply says, In this way, everyone reached land safely. And that is what the Lord does for us. We go through the storm surge, get beaten up a bit, start to lose hope, and He makes Himself known. We respond in faith to His word and increase our faith and courage to take on our challenges with confidence. Then, before we even know it, the storm has been successfully navigated, and we reach land safely.

6 Comments

  1. Jeri Centers on April 20, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    God gave me a poem this week from Acts 27 verse 20:

    When all hope has gone out of you
    When the sea ahead turns a raging blue.

    Hold onto Jesus, let him be your light,
    In the ways of depression, He will help you fight.

    When all desire has gone out of you
    When the storm you’re in overshadows your eternal view

    Hold onto Jesus let him be your rock
    And the wind he will begin to block.

    What that means to me is when our hope and desire have gone out of us, don’t be discouraged because Jesus holds onto us.

    • Jason on April 27, 2021 at 1:06 pm

      As always, this is such a beautiful and artistic expression of the hope we have in Jesus and the encouragement it is in this life to be His child and walk with Him. I love the imagery in these lines of how God provides for us:

      Hold onto Jesus let him be your rock
      And the wind he will begin to block.

      He is a shelter from the storm and a place to find solace and a shield from the winds and waves of life that seek to batter and destroy us.

  2. Heidi on April 22, 2021 at 11:56 am

    Acts 27:23-25 says, For this [very] night there stood by my side an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship, And he said, Do not be frightened, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you all those who are sailing with you. So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith (complete confidence) in God that it will be exactly as it was told me.

    Even though we are trying to help people not get into areas where something is going to go wrong, or bad, you may not do that, and they don’t listen, but we still want to be there to help them through it if God is leading us to do that. The Lord is with us in the storms to get encouragement from Him and then to encourage others.

    The Apostle Paul must have gotten a little afraid himself because the angel said do not be frightened, Paul. So as he got encouraged by God through the angel now he is now sharing his experience to encourage others. He gave thanks to God for the bread in front of everyone and then ate, setting the example. So in the midst of storms, we can bring the Lord into ours and others by being the example of listening to the Lord and showing others that God is right there for everyone to help

    Thank you, God, for always being with us.

    • Jason on April 27, 2021 at 1:11 pm

      Thank you for this great commentary, Heidi. This line from your post really stood out to me:

      So as he (Paul) got encouraged by God through the angel now he is now sharing his experience to encourage others.

      It is so important that believers stay connected to God and find encouragement both in their relationship with Him and people so that we can effectively and sincerely encourage others. This is so key in Christian service especially during the storms of life.

  3. Alma Dolores Schmidt on April 25, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    This week, God gave me a song from Acts 27 called “We Serve You”:

    We serve you, we serve you
    We serve and worship you

    Through the good and the bad, we are together
    Thank you, Lord
    Thank you for your kindness, patience, and understanding

    We are on a journey, a journey, a wonderful journey with you
    We trust and believe in our Lord

    We serve you, we serve you
    We serve and worship you. Amen.

    I personally want to be a servant to my Lord and do as much as I can to help others. Hopefully, I can help bring some of God’s children to know our Father.

    • Jason on April 27, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      This is so good, Alma. I love the message of service in this song first as God has served and serves us and how we, in turn, worship and serve Him. It reminded me of a song called, “We Serve”:

      You are a mighty, mighty
      You are a mighty, mighty
      You are a mighty, mighty God we serve

      You sit high, you look low
      You are with us wherever we go
      No more fear, you’re in control
      Things may change, but this we know

      You are a mighty, mighty
      You are a mighty, mighty
      You are a mighty, mighty God we serve

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