You know the drill. Things are going well, no crisis, no conflicts to speak of, pretty much smooth sailing.
Then seemingly out of nowhere, a storm hits. Maybe it’s a crisis, or a hardship. Maybe it’s a personal tragedy.
So what do you do when a hurricane-force storm hits and water is filling your boat?
Answer: You take heart. Because you are not alone.
When Paul was at sea on his way to Rome and the mighty tempest hit him and the others on board, he was able to courageously encourage others. He told them, “But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me” (Acts 27:22-23).
How was Paul able to be so confident?
He was conscious of the presence of God in the face of danger. He knew that God was there with him.
And God is with us in our storms as well. God will always give us what we need when we need it.
You remember that Paul had what he called his “thorn in the flesh,” which was presumably some kind of physical disability or illness. He asked the Lord three times to remove it (see 2 Corinthians 12).
God’s answer was, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9), which is another way of saying, “I will be with you, Paul. Instead of a healing, I will personally be there in a special and sufficient way.”
A.B. Simpson wrote these words:
“Once it was the Blessing, now it is the Lord.
Once it was the Feeling, now it is His Word.
Once His Gifts I wanted, now the Giver alone.
Once I sought Healing, now Himself alone.”
God is with you right now, regardless of the storm or even the shipwreck. We may not hear an audible voice, but you may hear that “still small voice” of God’s Holy Spirit. Or He will speak to you through His Word.
Then you, like Paul, can reassure others that “the Lord is in control.”
Time and time again, God reminded Paul of His presence.
- He was there when Paul was in jail in Jerusalem, as Jesus told him to “be courageous!” (Acts 23:11)
- It happened in 2 Timothy 4:16-17 when Paul said, “All deserted me . . . but the Lord stood by me.”
- And it happened here in Acts 27, in the midst of the storm.
You can take heart in the face of danger or uncertainty because you are aware of God’s presence with you.
When your boss says, “I’m really sorry, but I’m going to have to let you go!” Or when the doctor says, “The test results are back and I need you to come in.” Or when the telephone rings and someone says, “There’s been an accident.”
You are not alone. The Lord is standing next to you. He cares. Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).