You’ve heard the stories…
Plane crashes in the woods, everyone survives the crash, but dies of starvation because they got lost trying to find their way out. Or the story of a hiker out on the trail who gets trapped in a freak winter storm. Relying on their instinct and survival skills, the hiker survives three days before a search and rescue team find them in the exact location they were lost.
Two Stories, Two Very Different Outcomes
On the one hand we have the story of the plane crash. Believing they weren’t far from the small town, they flew over during their descent, the badly shaken up passengers begin to hike towards the direction of the town, or so they thought. Instead of heading towards the town they ended up walking the opposite direction. Thinking they were close, they didn’t take care to procure any food or water. Needless to say, the search and rescue team found them 7 miles from the crash site and 10 miles from the town they flew over!
On the other hand is the story of a hiker who found himself trapped on the side of a mountain in a freak snowstorm. Knowing the last thing you should do is move from your location, this experienced hiker hurried to make a snow shelter, and began rationing his food and water. He also made provisions to be able to signal for help knowing he told the rangers station his course of entry and exist for his hike. Three days later after the storm settled, a search and rescue team flew over the exact location they believed the hiker to be. Sure enough, they saw the signal fire and pulled the hiker out of the woods.
You’ll Make it to Rome
We’re only mildly concerned about Paul’s shipwreck considering the encouragement Paul received in Jerusalem: Acts 23:11 (NLT) 11 That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.” If that wasn’t enough, even in the midst of the storm Paul’s comforted again by an angel in Acts 27:24 (NLT) 24 and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’
Now, you’ll tend to speak boldly to the people around you when you have THAT type of assurance from the Lord. So that’s exactly what Paul did, he spoke out boldly to everyone on the ship because he knew they would be okay… if they listened to him!
This doesn’t change the fact that they were still going to go through the storm. It didn’t mean they weren’t going to be banged up, and bruised up. Being on a boat in a storm for close to two weeks will do that to you. Yes! Two weeks! Look at verse 27: “On the FOURTEENTH night of the storm.” We tend to forget that God will grant us safe passage, but we may get a few cuts and scrapes along the way. You see, those cuts and scrapes will serve as a reminder for what God has brought you through!
Sometimes the Storm is the Safest Place To Be
You wouldn’t blame the sailors for wanting to abandon ship, but there’s something to be said about their plan. There’s a reason why the maritime tradition states “the captain goes down with the ship.” But Paul here isn’t saying that anyone had to go down with anything, yet what he says is equally crazy. “You will all die unless the sailors stay aboard.” Wait. What? That doesn’t seem to make sense! Think about it from the sailors perspective… the issue is on the boat, safety is away from the boat, and you’re telling me we’ll live if we stay on the boat? And all because your God told you so? Okay! “Cut the lines.”
Cut the Lines
Cutting the lines was the sailors “All in” moment! Not only did Paul prove to be trustworthy, but the God Paul served proved Himself the same.
What storm are you going through? What situation do you find yourself in today? Maybe today is the day you cut the lines and stay put! Many times in life we find ourselves wanting to cut and run. Depending on the severity of the situation, that’s exactly what you need to do. However, there are times when the storm is there for a reason, and God’s already promised to get you to Rome. If that’s the case, then, “cut the lines,” because the storm is the safest place to be.