Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Shipwrecked! -- Acts 27-28


Have you ever felt shipwrecked in your faith? I have, thankfully I have been rescued off most of those desert islands.

In these chapters in Acts, the Apostle Paul finds himself in the midst of storms, and ultimately tossed up on the beach of a not-too-deserted island. So much for the latest installment of "Survivor!"

Here's my thought as I begin to weigh through this passage. Too often, within the confines of the evangelical tradition of which I am a part, we see storms, and shipwrecks as bad things. But I wonder, after reading Paul's story, if we shouldn't change that outlook?

What do you think my fellow shipmates?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ahoy mate!
Having been fortunate enough to take several cruises in the past 20 years I see nothing positive about stormy seas, high winds, and the possibility of shipwreck ! On a cruise in the Caribbean last year we had hurricane Ivan nipping at our heels and the captain had to divert his coarse several times to avoid being in harms way. When a huge ocean liner is listing back and forth so much that you are warned to avoid walking as much as possible...it isn't a very positive experience. So I began asking myself just what you, "Captain Randy" , are seeing in this chapter that I am obviously missing.

As I read it AGAIN, I see SOME positive things out of it.

In vs. 3 Paul gets an unexpected opportunity to have fellowship with friends at Sidon.

In vs. 4.5...because of the headwinds they had to sail close to shore which no doubt offered some scenic views...

Vs.7-9 suggest they had an unexpected "vacation" of sorts in Fair Havens

In vs.18 in order to lighten the weight of the ship the crew began casting off extra cargo...spiritually..that speaks to me as in our lives..it is sometimes the storms of life that make us see more clearly how "cluttered" our lives have become with unnecessary weight....it often sparks a "casting off of things in our lives holding us "captive" or threatening to drown us"...so we do a spiritual housecleaning or "casting off".....in order to run the race "unfettered" by extra cargo.

Vs.33 suggests that even in the difficulties of life...God can still use his people to be a blessing in the lives of those around them. Paul advises, warns,comforts, and encourages and yes, even says "I told you so!"

In vs.3 and again in vs. 43 it mentions that Julius was kind to Paul...wanted to spare his life. God sends "friends" alongside.

Vs. 41-43...even though the ship did crash and broke apart...it happened close enough to shore for strong swimmers to make it to shore...while others who couldn't swim used the wreckage to hold onto to "float" to safety. No lose of life.

So I conclude that even in the storms of life and possible shipwreck...physically, emotionally, or spiritually....God cares for His own and uses them even in their weakness to minister to others around them, provides unexpected pleasures amid the chaos, and is ultimately "in charge".

Nothing I didn't know...just needed to be reminded!! Thanks Captain! Land ho....I'm swimming for shore...Ruthie

Pastor Randy said...

Great thoughts, many of which grabbed me as I was studying this passage.

I surely do not enjoy storms at sea either (actually, don't know how cool I am about them on land either, but that's another story), but I do see how God is there and can in fact use the stormy times of our life for His glory and even for our good and the good of others.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it is encouraging to hear from others as we sail along with the Captian of our souls.

Randy

Anonymous said...

Since I get terribly seasick, shipwrecked doesn’t seem all that bad to me especially if the natives are as friendly and hospitable as they were to Paul. Shipwrecked means the boat has stopped swaying violently back and forth the shore would be a welcome relief to those who were green around the gills suffering from dry heaves.

It is interesting to note that God had a job for Paul to do and this was just a little detour that he allowed as part of the that plan, but Paul’s sovereign God was still in complete control. Even when the soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners to make sure no one swam off and escaped, the centurion prevented them from doing so and Paul’s life was spared. Not even a poisonous snakebite managed to prevent Paul from living and still sharing the good news with anyone who would listen.

When I read stories like this, I can’t bring myself to like shipwrecks or motion sickness, but I do notice that God causes all things to work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose and it reminds me that there really is a spiritual war going. It’s as if all the forces of evil were doing everything they could to stop Paul literally “dead” in his tracks. Since Paul was sold out lock stock and barrel, the forces of evil seemed to know that the only way they were going to prevent him from carrying out God’s will was to kill him, and I get the impression that they did their level best.

But God had another plan, his own sovereign plan. Paul came out of this shipwreck alive, still praising and preaching Christ and like Ruthie said, a few other good things happened as well. What kind of spiritual wars must be going on that involve us? Wars that we cannot see. but that are meant to crush us, to destroy us that (by the grace of God)in the end up strengthening us and equipping us to be better ambassadors for Christ?

gentledove

Pastor Randy said...

gentledove,

Thanks for you thoughts, as with Ruthie's I would say that yes, even the storms of life can be used of the Lord to accomplish His desires both in us and through us.

I also am thoughtful of your comments regarding the spiritual battle. I am sure that not all storms, like the one raging outside my office window right now, are of God's making. I am sure, though I don't always know how, the Evil One can throw his own storms in our ways to seek to sink us, or at least detour us from our stated port.

Thanks for sharing and may the Lord grant you safely to His port.

Pastor Randy