Scripture Focus: Acts 27.22
22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.
Reflection: The Hand of Providence
By Dennis Nicholson
In Daniel Defoe’s classic work Robinson Crusoe, the eponymous hero finds himself shipwrecked on an uninhabited Caribbean island. Marooned! And just when Crusoe had begun making a living for himself, too. It’s the latest in his lifelong streak of bad luck.
However, in the following days, Crusoe begins to see the gracious hand of Providence at work. Though he’s stranded, he’s alive. Though he’s hungry, he’s surrounded by wildlife to scavenge. And as he reflects on his old life, he begins to hear the call to repent of his sinful ways and turn to God.
Providence saved Crusoe’s life.
Luke tells us of another tempestuous ocean journey in Acts 27—Paul’s journey to Rome. Here, too, we see flashes of Providence. Julius, the centurion assigned to the prisoners, treats Paul favorably. Storms sweep the group away but also usher them towards Malta. The ship runs aground, but everyone reaches land safely.
As the storm rages, Paul’s companions lose hope of salvation. But Paul encourages them: “Not one of you will be lost.” Paul is confident that they will all survive because he sees the gracious hand of Providence at work.
Paul knew that God would protect him because God had plans for him in Rome. No storm could thwart God’s plans then. And no storm can thwart God’s plans now.
Paul’s eyes were open to God’s providence in his life. So often we blind ourselves to God’s work. As the storms of life surround us, as fear and loneliness consume us, we lose hope of salvation. But we can take heart, for “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8.28).
God will protect his church for his good purposes.
Let this hope be our anchor in the midst of the tempestuous seas. Let’s fix our eyes not on the waves, but on the outstretched hand of our Savior (Matthew 14.22-23). Let’s remember that we weather the storms not by our wisdom but by his providential hand. And let’s thank him for the ways he provides for us each and every day.
Thank you, Lord, for the breath of life.
Thank you, Lord, for sunshine and rain and food.
Thank you, Lord, for the strength to work.
Thank you, Lord, for friends who encourage and exhort.
Thank you, Lord, for saving our lives.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Bow down your ear, O Lord, and answer me…Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful. — Psalm 86.1-2
Read more about Faith After the Storm
Jesus rebuking the storm rebukes us as well. “Quiet. Be still”…He is no longer someone we can shake awake and push around.