Rough sailing to Rome!
Scripture reading for July 9th: Acts 27:1-20
Paul knew he was to stand before Caesar to testify of the Gospel. (Acts 23:11) The Lord had appeared to him to encourage him nearly two years earlier and told him what was to come. Now the time to sail to Rome was at hand. The voyage was being paid for by the Roman government and Paul had personal bodyguards and escorts as a prisoner. A centurion named Julius was over the prisoners and was especially kind to Paul. The progress was slow, because of contrary winds and the season to go North was getting late because of the contrary winds of winter.
Paul urged the centurion not to travel onward because of the possible loss of ship, cargo and lives. (Acts 27:9-10) But the centurion listened to the pilot and ship owner and sailed on towards another harbor on Crete. A storm of hurricane proportions swept down on the ship and continued for many days. They ended up throwing the cargo overboard and tying the ship together with ropes. The storm continued and they all thought that they would die at sea. Paul stood up and spoke to the crew and prisoners. “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” (Acts 27:21b-24)
God is faithful to His servants. God gave Paul wisdom that helped him and those with him survive a difficult and possibly fatal storm. He was given a word of wisdom by God that gave courage to go on. God never promises His servants that that they won’t suffer through trials, but He does promise grace for every trial! He used even this storm to accomplish His purposes!