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.” Acts 27:13-44
The apostle Paul was a passionate man whose life was changed radically. He who had been the primary persecutor of the new Christians was struck blind on the Damascus Road as God revealed himself through Jesus. After his conversion, Paul gave up his prestigious Jewish career and lived no-holds-barred for God. Our reading comes when he is a prisoner for his beliefs and is being transported to Rome to appear before Caesar.
The pilot and sailors must have regarded their cargo – the prisoners – as a nuisance. They continued in their own course along the water, even though Paul warned them to stop and harbor over the winter. Sure enough, they find themselves caught in hurricane-force winds. Battered for days and worried about food supplies, they must have started to give up hope. Just then Paul speaks up, sharing a word from God that he received through a dream. He conveys hope amid the fears.
I love how matter-of-fact Paul seems when he shares his dream. He can’t resist pointing out that they should have listened to him in the first place, but that God will graciously rescue all of them. His faith is strong enough to bring calm during a raging storm, for he has put his trust in the triune God.
What storms are you facing, or those close to you? What squalls rage in the world, with nation poised against nation and many peoples facing abject poverty? As we consider the good news of Jesus coming into our world, may we commit to praying and believing that God can calm the storm. And then may we act on what we discern the Lord would have us do, for we are his agents of peace and hope in a hurting world.
For reflection and prayer: “May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever he may send you. May he guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm” (Celtic Daily Prayer)