“The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, they began to jettison the cargo; and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned” (Acts 27:18-20). They were in a bad spot. Paul had told them that they shouldn’t have made the journey. It was late in the season to be sailing across the Mediterranean. Bad Nor’easter type storms came up quite frequently. There was grain and precious cargo to get to Rome. There was a schedule to keep. Now, they were in danger of losing their own lives. Hope was being abandoned. “When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, ‘Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss. Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.” Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told’” (Acts 27:21-25). Some tried to escape the ship in a smaller boat. “Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, ‘Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved’” (Acts 27:31). They were all eventually saved, just as God had said.
Sometimes the answer to our troubling time is simple. In this case, they just needed to remain in the ship. Paul was confident when he delivered God’s message to people that were losing hope. I can only imagine that it would’ve been a hard sell. Paul convinced them all to remain in ship.
Like those in Noah’s day, we have been given instructions to keep us safe. “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Chris” (1 Pet. 3:21). We are added to the boat via a simple act of obedience on our part (Acts 2:47). While we are in the boat, we do not need to fear those things that are not in the boat. The waves and the danger are not in the ship. So many things that would give us pause or cause fear are so insignificant compared to the church that keeps us safe in Christ. We sing and talk about not having fear—we should act like it.
In the ship, Paul was not reckless with the lives of those around him; however, he was confident in what God had promised. Are we allowing the fear that the waves in life may get into the ship; or are we confident in God, come what may?