Sunday, January 20, 2013

Advent Archive: Acts 27

Hope is a curious thing. According to Acts 27, there were 267 men aboard the ship that was headed with Paul to Rome. Paul was simply a prisoner on the boat. As the boat sailed, a horrible series of winds and waves and ultimately a massive storm tossed the large boat around like a little toy. Paul had found confidence through the two week ordeal, but those around him were obviously panicked. The evidence of this confidence in hope was that every time that Paul is mentioned in the passage, he is reasoning with the ship’s captain or with the head of the soldiers. When everyone else is frantic, Paul goes to the Centurion and says “don’t let anyone leave the boat, because if they don’t leave they will live. But if they leave they will die.” Although for the first few days Paul’s advice is ignored, no doubt the stability of his confidence had such an impact that before long the ship’s captain was willing to cut off the life boat, and dump the food in the ocean at Paul’s advice. From a position where nobody listened to him, to a position where the leaders did his every command, Paul remained unwaveringly the same. Paul had a hope that they didn’t. To Paul, there was nothing to lose…to die is gain. The hope of a secure eternity gave Paul a confidence to remain level-headed in the midst of turmoil. Eventually, the hope of an eternity with God turned to a witnessing confidence when God sent His messenger to tell Paul that the men from the ship would be saved as a result of this ordeal. Paul’s hope had become a springboard for his witness. Do you have the same hope? Do you live like the men straining to hold on to the things of life? Or do you look fully in the face of adversity and rest in the hope of a future with God?

Food For Thought: Why was Paul able to be confident in the face of adversity? What are some circumstances through which you would need to have the same confidence in our God ?