and now… the conclusion:
There we found some believers, who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. (Acts 28:14)
Relate: This map shows where Paul’s boat was during the storm. They began at the middle of the bottom side of Crete and had planned to stop on the west end. The storm pushed them south and west and they were somewhere inside that circle when they dropped anchor and threw everything overboard giving up all hope of survival. Funny thing is, this storm over which they had no control had pushed them just as far in days as they had managed to get in the preceding months through their own struggle and efforts.
The island God dropped them off at was just a hop (to Sicily) skip (over to Italy) and a jump (up to Rome) from where they belonged. Even better, because they were shipwrecked God was giving them a forced three month vacation. Yes, that is about equal to their time of struggle. And the island God dumped them off at… it is the tourism spot for Europe. It gets over a million tourists a year and I can almost guarantee if you randomly open up one of those paparazzi magazines, they will have photos of some actor or nobility sunning themselves on this island.
Paul had struggled at the hands of the Jews in Jerusalem, he languished in a Roman prison in Caesarea, endured the stubborn foolishness of the sailors on this journey, and will soon be squaring off with Nero. He needed a vacation but probably would never have taken one of his own accord. As a prisoner, he wouldn’t even had a choice. God was looking out.
One last thing, Since this short journey ended up taking six months, there was plenty of time for the Christian community to begin getting behind Paul. Word had plenty of time for word to spread that Paul will be witnessing to Caesar. I’m guessing that some who could, made their journey to Rome arriving ahead of him. I’m positive that the entire Christian world was praying and fasting for him.
React: All this struggle was happening, all these difficulties… only to realize that every step of the way God was in control. He wasn’t giving these passengers what they wanted, but he was giving them what they needed. How many times have I found that something bad that was happening really turned out for good. It is easy to look back in hindsight and notice this but how often, when I am going through the storm, however, I still tend to forget. God is in control. He has been in control, and He always be in control. Let me say it again…
God, I am so grateful that You are who You are. No matter what the skeptics might say I know You are all powerful and I know You are good. No matter what I might cry out in my own times of frustration, I know that You care about me. You are working everything out for my good. Help me to see Your guiding hand even in the worst of life’s storms. Help me to trust You even when I feel like I am sinking. Let me never forget, You are in control.