“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer—for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship, for there stood by me this night the angel of God, Whose I am and Whom I serve, saying ‘Fear not, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar—and, lo, God has given you all them that sail with you.’ Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer—for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me’.”
When Jesus is the “Captain of our salvation” (Heb. 2:10), we need never worry how strong the wind and how tall the waves.
“But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon” (v.14).
How quickly “soft south winds” (v.13) lull us into a false sense of security. Such was certainly the situation in Paul’s case—at least with the owner of the grain-carrying ship Paul was sailing on with other prisoners (v.11). The “love of money” and greedy gain (I Tim. 6:10) has a way of causing folks to throw caution to the wind, only to regret later such unwise decisions (vv.18-19, 38, 41).
Eurcolydon winds were feared, ferocious, typhoon-type winds that plagued the eastern Mediterranean Sea in the springtime. Nowadays they’re sometimes called “Noreaster winds” because they blow from the northeast or east-northeast. And, that’s exactly what happened as the ship from Adramyttium (v.2), which is now known as modern-day Turkey, set sail that day against Paul’s advice (vv.9-10).
Just as he’d predicted, the tempestuous winds began driving them across the sea at breakneck speeds, causing the sailors to lower their sails and hang on for the ride (vv.14-15). And, it wasn’t long before the huge waves and rough seas caused them to throw some of their cargo and tackling overboard (vv.18-19). It’s amazing how worthless the world’s goods seem to us when our very lives are in danger.
But, in the midst of it all, the angel of the Lord appeared to Paul as he prayed and fasted (v.21). Could it be this was Gabriel, the “Good News Angel,” dispatched once again with his “Fear not” message (Lk. 1:13, 19, 26, 30)? We’re not told; but we are told he reassured Paul that he and all of his 275 fellow passengers would survive the storm and upcoming shipwreck if they’d simply stay in the boat (vv.31, 37, 44).
It was taking God at His Word (vv.25-26) that enabled Paul to stand in front of the frightened men in the midst of the howling winds, driving rain and pounding sea and say “Sirs, be of good cheer. It’s going to be okay” (v.25). Likewise, it was this inward assurance that caused him to “break bread and give thanks to God that not a single one of their hair would be lost,” even though they were being driven aground and had already “cast out four anchors from the stern and were wishing for the day’s dawning” (vv.29, 34-35; cf. Ps. 23:5).
Simple, childlike faith/trust in the living God has a way of giving us a “consecrated calm” in the storm. It’s knowing He is our “Refuge and Strength—a very Present Help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1) and “holds us in the hollow of His Hand, from which no one can pluck us” (Jn. 10:28-29) that enables us to be “sure and steadfast” when others have lost hope (Heb. 6:17-20). May you rest in that Blessed Assurance today, Pilgrim. He’s with you (Heb. 13:5b).
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated August 7, 2010