If you haven’t read part 1 first, I would recommend you do so.
So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. (Acts 27:25)
Relate: For three months the ship and its crew have been struggling against nature and fighting a losing battle. A journey of weeks had already taken six times longer than normal by the point the storm took control and they have lost all hope of making it on their own. It is at this point that Paul gives them a brief, four part message from God:
1) Statement of sin – You should have listened and avoided all this mess.
2) Promise of salvation – Take heart, not one of you will die.
3) Word of encouragement – Take courage. God will do what he promised.
4) Acknowledgement of consequences – The ship’s going down.
Everything happened just as he said. There were 276 people on that boat and each was given a final meal before they threw the rest of grain overboard. When morning came there was a strange coastline ahead and they made their way towards it. Unfortunately the ship got caught in the shoals and torn apart. Those who could swim made their way across the water. Those who could not, grabbed a piece of the doomed ship and followed as they could. Not a one died, but their journey seemed to be at an end.
React: Sometimes God rescues us from the consequences of our stubbornness and stupidity but usually not. When I make bad financial decisions, I should not be surprised that I’m broke. When I make poor use of my time, it should be no wonder that I’m failing commitments and getting things done late or poorly. If I am not investing in the relationships I have, it should come as no surprise that I am lonely. If I sit at home and watch TV eating pizza all day, no wonder my cholesterol levels are so high and that number on the scale keeps going up. If I don’t stop being such a workaholic I’ll soon be a divorcee. (In case you’re wondering, most of these are hypotheticals… most)
The thing is, we often find ourselves struggling with the consequences of our stubbornness and stupidity. We’re calling out to God and it seems like the gates of heaven are shut to our cry. We wonder if God is listening. We wonder if He cares. We might even wonder if He is really there. When in this time where my life is about to be shipwrecked, Paul’s message speaks to me as well.
1) I need to acknowledge that the difficulty I am facing is of my own making, not God’s.
2) God can save me.
3) He will be with me.
4) Most likely, I’ve still got a rough road ahead.
Sometimes God calms the storm. Usually He brings us through it. That road is much better for character development and that is what God is all about.