RIDING OUT THE STORM

21 But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. 22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. 26 However, we must run aground on a certain island.”   ACTS 27:21-26

Smell the salty air of Acts 27 as you read it. Hear the thunder and see the lightning,  the howling winds and dark clouds. Paul was being sent to Rome, He was a prisoner on the ship, but before long became the captain. To get where God had called him to go it was necessary to RIDE OUT A STORM. Sometimes we experience that in our walk with God. Many times our lives are affected by the decisions of others, as in the case of Jonah whose decision to run from God’s call affected a “boat load” of people.

There are at least four kinds of storms in which we may find ourselves.

1. Storms that are just a part of nature. Just being in the world. It rains on the just and the unjust.

2. Storms that are created by foolish decisions. (like Jonah). Here, they got into a storm by listening to worldly advice rather than Godly advice.

3. Storms that God sends us into for development  Like the disciples sent ahead by Jesus, when He came to them walking on the water.

4. Storms we are dragged into by other people. Bad parents, bad friends, bad leadership. We can find ourselves in storms for many different reasons.

The Apostle Paul and 276 men found themselves in a violent storm because of a worldly decision. The ship owner had cargo to deliver, money was involved. The centurion sent from Rome to deliver Paul, had a prisoner to deliver.  The weather forecast was not good. Paul, God’s man advised them not to sail. They did not heed Godly advice and sailed into a massive destructive storm on the Adriatic sea.

It is interesting to note to the “storm stoppers’ who believe you can speak to a weather outbreak and stop it, Paul didn’t do it and he even knew the name of the storm, Euroclydon. Paul listened to God for wisdom while in the storm.  His heart was in tune with God and reported to the men what God’s Spirit had given to him. Paul said, ‘Don’t sail, don’t sail, we will be heading into dangerous storm. There’ll be much loss!’ But they sailed anyway.

I once heard Dr. Adrian Rogers say there were at least five ways to make a bad decision. This what the captain and the centurion had done. Bad decisions made here fall into the five mentioned by, (now deceased) Dr. Adrian Rogers.

Bad decisions are often:

1. Made in haste. 

2. Based upon worldly wisdom.

3. Takes easy way out.

4. Follows the crowd, majority is usually wrong.

5. Is to base your decision upon circumstances. 

This is certainly what happened here. What important lessons are in this storm? God used an entire chapter in the Bible to talk about this storm. Read the chapter. Let God speak to you. Paul was going to Rome! God said he was. He was going willingly. Jonah was going to Ninevah, God said he was. He could go by sail or whale, but he was going.   First class or fish class, but he was going, he spent three nights on a foam “blubber” mattress, but he went to Ninevah.  Paul was going to Rome because God said he was, no storm on the sea could prevent it.

This storm was so violent (v.14-21) the sailors couldn’t manage the ship. They had to “let it ride” sometimes being in God’s will doesn’t mean you won’t have to Ride Out The Storm! Even in the midst of the storm, God will remind you of His call and His Hand on your life. How you conduct yourself in the storm will affect all around you, in this case 276 men. Paul became the captain of the ship. THE CREW LET THE SHIP RIDE they could not successfully labor in the conditions. They threw their cargo and profit overboard, their resources were now depleted.

Hope was vanished. ALL HOPE WAS GONE! What a terrible place to be! But when it appeared that all hope was gone, God sent the ANGEL OF THE LORD (maybe Jesus Himself), and told Paul “Be of good cheer”  What?? 

Virtually always the message of angels: “Be of good cheer, don’t lose hope.”  Maybe Paul was quoting from Psalms 107 when this happened, (v.23-29).

23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. 25 For he commands, and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves thereof. 26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. 28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he brings them out of their distresses. 29 He makes the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

Maybe you have never been on a ship that was  in a storm, but I bet you have been in a storm of another kind. Perhaps you are trying to navigate  thru that storm now.

Maybe all hope is vanishing. You see no way of anything, but disaster coming in this storm. You need a word from God. There are people all around you, but they can’t seem to help . You didn’t cause the storm, but you are in it.  Paul in the midst of the despair said, “There stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve…”  Note he didn’t say whom I occasionally serve. Paul knew the experience of prison and seemingly hopeless situations, he knew to walk by faith and not by sight. He trusted that God is always bigger than the storms!

Sometimes it is helpful to know how you got in the storm.  He was in the storm not because of his disobedience, but because of a foolish decision by someone else, demons tried to prevent him from getting to Rome. The angel told Paul, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar…”

God has spoken that it was His will that Paul go to Rome, that was sufficient and all the demons in hell could not prevent it. Sometimes you have to Ride Out the Storm, even though you are not the cause of being in the storm, ride it out based upon God’s faithfulness. The storm will pass and you will be back on solid ground, Paul only needed God in the storm with him! 

Just for Jesus,

Don

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