The 27th chapter of the book of Acts is not one that I gave a whole lot of consideration to for a long time. I knew the story, how Paul was being taken to Rome and was shipwrecked on Malta. I knew that every person on that boat lived, as God had promised, because they followed exactly the instructions given by God through Paul. I knew all of this, but I'm not sure I ever thought to gain a deeper connection to and understanding of this passage until I heard a sermon that focused on verses 25 and 26.
"Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island."
Basically, "Don't worry; we will all be fine. We just have to shipwreck first." Can you imagine being in that boat and hearing Paul say that? The point the preacher made from this was that this is how our life can be sometimes. We are stuck in the storms of trials and tribulations, and we don't see any way out. And here comes the promise of God: "Don't worry. Trust in Me, and you will be fine. But, just so you know, it's going to have to get worse before it gets better."
Thinking about that lesson and this chapter, here are some points that stood out to me:
Don't lost hope, even in situations that seem hopeless (vv. 13-22).
One of the purposes of the hardships we face in life is to produce hope within us (Romans 5:1-5). We must put our trust in God, as He watches over and cares for His children (Psalm 31). Our Father hears His children's prayers (Psalm 3:4; 6:6-9), and He will make provision for us in ways that are to our benefit (Matthew 7:7-11).
God does not lie (v. 25).
God promised Paul that all the men on that boat would live (v. 24), and this promise was fulfilled (v. 44). The men on that boat reaped the benefits of that promise because they believed Paul and followed the guidelines that God revealed for them. Abraham also reaped the benefits of God's promise because he believed and did exactly what God commanded him (Romans 4:20-22). Likewise, we can believe and obey Him when He says that the reward of heaven will be worth all the things that we have to suffer here on earth (Matthew 5:10; 2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
Bad things will happen, but God will take care of His faithful (vv. 25-26).
God sends the rain to the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45), but He also promises that each will ultimately receive the reward he or she is due for the life lived on this earth (2 Thessalonians 1:4-7). Remember that the troubles of this world are temporary (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:4) and that enduring through these trials helps us mature as Christians (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7). If we persevere and stay true to God, we have the reward of heaven waiting for us (Revelation 21:1-7). Of course, the wicked and those who do not stand strong have a reward waiting for them as well (Revelation 21:8).
May God bless you and keep you safe through whatever storms you may be going through. And should you also have to 'run aground on a certain island', may you find God's strength and grace sufficient to see you through it all.
Thanks for stopping by!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.