Overcoming the storms
Acts chapter 27 re-counts Paul’s journey by sea, as a prisoner, to be tried in Rome. The actual goal of that journey was to testify about the Lord before the Roman ruler according to the Lord’s promise to him. The Lord provided two believers to accompany Paul on his trip to help and support him; Luke the physician and Aristarchus. Christian friends are a gift from the Lord for which one should be thankful, “The righteous shall surround me, for You shall deal bountifully with me.” (Ps. 142:6) For, “Two are better than one, .. a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Eccl. 4: 9, 12)
I will mention the lovingkindness of the Lord! He provides friends to help and encourage throughout our lives’ journey and as we face life’s storms just as He did with David when he was in the cave. The Lord, as part of His goodness to us, governs the spheres of our relationships. “Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause; and let them say continually, let the Lord be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” (Ps. 35:27) i.e. rejoice in the work of the Lord with him!
The centurion was kind to Paul. In like manner, you can proclaim your faith that others will be kind to you to the glory of the Lord! He allowed him to meet with his friends who provided for his journey’s needs. Ask the Lord to stir up your spirit to help others.
The ship faced four kinds of winds in its journey: this resembles our lives as we sometimes face different types of winds, yet in all of them we remain more than conquerors in him who loved us.
1. Contrary wind: “When we had put to sea from there, we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary” (Acts 27:4). In the harbor of Myra, they got off board the small ship and alighted a big Alexandrian ship heading to Rome assuming that it will expedite their journey to their destiny. But the ship faced contrary winds that did not allow them to hold their course forcing them to head in a different direction. These winds force one to change one’s course. Let us proclaim our faith that the Lord rules over the opposing winds that we face and that they will not impede the Lord’s plan for our lives, and will not force us to draw back or be discouraged. Those opposing winds will be an opportunity to see the great work of the Lord. This is is exactly what happened with the disciples as they rowed their boat throughout the night until the Lord came to them walking on water. We are more than conquerors over the contrary wind!
2. Impeding Wind: “When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone.” (Acts 27:7). They needed to move quickly to reach their destination before the winter when sailing becomes dangerous. In the name of Jesus, we will not give in to fear or logical calculations when we are confronted with delays that affect work or medical treatment. It makes no difference whether we are fast or slow, The Lord will be still be glorified in our lives. Speak to yourself: The Lord governs my times; I want my ship to reach Rome in the Lord’s appointed time! Refuse to be discouraged and thank the Lord because he controls everything. Do not worry about tomorrow as all matters are in the Lord ‘s hands who is more powerful than the prince of the power of the air and controls him for your sake. If He allows slow progress, it is only to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in your life so that others might see peace, love, faith, and selflessness demonstrated in your life.
Sometimes, the Lord leaves one to struggle through, but at the same time strengthens one to be able to continue just as He did when he left His disciples to strain at rowing their boat all night. “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.” (Is. 40:29). And renews our strength like the eagle (the storms test our faith and our sincerity in following the Lord). We are more than conquerors over impeding wind!
The ship was forced to sail southward under the shelter of Crete. Sometimes, the Lord changes one’s route to achieve greater goals. At that time, Paul’s heart became preoccupied with the city of Crete and was the reason for spreading the gospel there. He also wrote a letter to Titus regarding Crete. There are no coincidences in our lives! Remind yourself that there is a reason for everything that happens in our life, for the glory of God and the disgrace of Satan.
3- Deceptive Wind: When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon.” (Acts 17: 13,14). The helmsmen, centurion, and the owner of the ship refused to listen to Paul’s advice, i.e., not to set sail but to winter at the Fair Havens. They were deceived by the south wind that blew gently, and decided to sail to Phoenix, a better place to winter. But, the way of man is not in himself – such deceptive wisdom comes from Satan. He used the gentle wind to mislead them; since after the ship set to sail a tempestuous head wind rose that left the ship reeling in the middle of the sea and they totally lost control over it.
A believer is a positive person. One must voice one’s opinion just as Paul did, and the Lord will empower us with wisdom and courage to impact others effectively. For example, if the father in a family is about to make a wrong decision, one should feel free to express one’s opinion, but in a humble manner.
Prayer: Lord! Do not allow me to follow the whims of my heart for it is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Lord, keep me walking in your will!
4. Tempestuous deadly wind: “But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon.” (Acts 27:14). Tell yourself: The Lord will preserve me if I face any kind of storm just as He preserved Paul. He always keeps me notwithstanding the type of danger or storm. Because the Lord loves me His protection for me is sure and constant despite the devil’s schemes against me and therefore He controls the wind for my sake. Thus, the tempestuous wind will be for my glory and Satan will remain under my feet. The Lord allows the storm so as to use me more and reveal the fruit of the Spirit in me!
Stand against fear and anxiousness. Despite the storms rest in safety and assurance because the Lord guarantees the future .. Welcome divine healing, tender care, and victory that glorifies the Lord. We will praise the Lord who is glorified in all our circumstances!
“Stormy wind, fulfilling His word.” (Ps. 148:8). Lord, I thank you because your Word directs everything. It is Your Word that reveals to us that You love us, deliver us, supply all our needs, keep us from all evil, and use us for ever increasing fruitfulness.
An excerpt from the sermon overcoming the storms, from the series Facing the storms August 1, 2020.