Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. (Acts 28:1)
Relate: Prior to what we are reading today in Acts 28 Paul had just spent three months on a laborious, suspenseful sea ride that should have taken a couple weeks max. Before that he had hopped from prison to prison hounded by Jewish lawyers and held there by corrupt politicians holding out for their handout. Before that, well… according to Paul’s counting:
I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned… I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.
Granted, some of this was still ahead, including an interview with Nero. Life hasn’t been easy for the man. Life won’t be getting much better. But for three months, Paul gets an enforced vacation on what is arguably the most beautiful island in the world. Every year about 1.6 million people break the bank and head to the Island of Malta for their hard earned (or not) vacation. When God wanted to give Paul a vacation, He didn’t break the bank. He broke a ship.
React: Sometimes what seems like the worst possible thing that can happen to us is actually God’s provision. Sometimes we are thinking, “God, as if the storm wasn’t bad enough, now you have to go and break up the ship? What is going on here?” In the meantime He is trying to tell us, “I’ve got this.” We might not see it in the moment but the roadblock He has placed in our path is actually a God ordained opportunity for us to stop, slow down, and relax. We have had some tough days. Tough days are ahead. But for today just take a moment. Breathe. Then tell yourself once again… God is still in control.
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.