After a few years in prison in Caesarea, Paul is finally on his way to Rome, but the journey is a difficult one. Winds are against them most of the trip, causing significant delays. By the time the windy winter season is upon him, Paul is in Crete, the middle of the distance to Rome, aboard a large grain ship with over 250 passengers.
While in harbor, Paul advises the captain to wait out the season to avoid loss of ship, cargo, and even life. His warning is not heeded and they push off. Before they can get to the next port, they’re carried off course by a storm for two weeks.
“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 up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong 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.’” v.21-24
All was indeed lost, save the passengers. They ended their trip off the coast of Malta, swimming, and floating on planks to the shore.
Let’s Talk About It
Storms are Inevitable!
Jonah was running from the will of God, he hit a storm. Paul was running towards the will of God, he also hit a storm. God doesn’t promise smooth sailing, but he does promise that you’ll make it to the other side. And He does promise to be with you. It’s in the storms of life, we discover the power of God to deliver us!
The Harvest of the Faithful
It’s not until the ship is in the middle of the storm that God strengthens and reassures Paul, granting him wisdom and foresight to take charge and lead everyone to safety. Even still, when the captain made the call to abandon ship, he wanted to kill the prisoners, Paul included. It was customary in those situations to “dispose” of their prisoner cargo so as not to risk their escape. The prisoners’ guard, who had favored Paul from the beginning of the journey, convinces the captain not do so. “Let’s not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary.” Galatians 6:9