I urge you to take heart

Published 10:00 am Sunday, September 4, 2022

As Paul was sailing to Rome on his last voyage, the ship and crew were caught in a severe storm and forced to throw everything except their food overboard to lighten the ship At this point Paul spoke to the crew these words of encouragement:

“And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me his night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you. Therefore, take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain Island.” — Acts 27:22-26 (NKJV)

After Paul’s visitation from God’s messenger, Paul was able to take a measure of authority over the sailing ship and its crew. Shortly before this Paul’s advice to remain in harbor was rejected by the owner of the ship and the Centurion in charge of Paul and the prisoners and their guards. What made the difference in how Paul’s advice was received?

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In verse 24, the angel told Paul that he must be brought to Caesar, and that he had been granted the lives of all who sailed with him. God has given Paul special dispensation to go to Rome, therefore, there isn’t any possibility that he will not arrive in Rome as planned. After the shipwreck the presence of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s life is clearly evident, as he begins to perform many miracles among the inhabitants of the Island.

The “hidden” lesson in this passage is found in verse 26. Although it is not really hidden, it is one that is easily overlooked in our interest to learn about the angel’s interaction with Paul. “However, we must run aground on a certain Island”, is something that we don’t want to hear. We want God to bless and protect us, guaranteeing our safety, as well as all those with us. We do not want to hear, that along with God’s protection, may just come a time of trial and difficulty. This time of trial and difficulty may just (as it did for Paul) prove to be ordained by God to be the instrument of our rescue.

Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired Methodist preacher.