Last night an angel of the God whose I am 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 27:23-24 ESV
When we were kids, my sister and I often argued loudly in the backseat of the car. We wouldn’t stop until our mom turned around and yelled, “Quiet! I can’t even hear myself think!” Today’s verse comes after a fourteen-day storm in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. After being battered for weeks by the waves, Paul and the sailors probably felt a lot like our mother!
One of the greatest difficulties during storms is our inability to think or sometimes even communicate with others. But no matter what our circumstances we can continue to pray. When it seems most difficult, we need to remind ourselves that God sends His message at midnight. In fact, He not only sent a message to Saint Paul in the storm at mid-night, but He chose many other times in the Bible to do the same for others. Remember, it was midnight when angels appeared to the shepherds. It was midnight when Jesus came walking out on the water and at midnight God will also send His message to us. At the darkest moment, when we are least expecting God will come and stand by our side and say, “Don’t be afraid.” What are you facing today? Is it midnight in your storm? It is not too late! In fact, midnight is the perfect time for Jesus to send His message that He will sail with us till we are home and anchored safely by the shore!
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day 2 Timothy 1:12 KJV
In this letter, Paul wrote to his dearest friend on earth, Timothy, while He was facing almost certain execution. Paul had been in and out of prisons for years and was growing old and maybe a little worn out. The false teachers trying to manipulate the church for financial gain, as well as the hypocritical religious leaders trying to have him killed finally seemed to have him where they wanted him. Yet Paul was able to say with confidence that no matter what, he was not going to be ashamed. Why? Because He knows Jesus and trusts that Jesus will take care both of him and of the things that Paul had been working to do. Isn’t it interesting how a few years earlier in Paul’s letter to the Philippian church, he said that He wanted to know Christ more. Now it appears that God has granted Paul his desire, and he could say, “I’m not worried any more. Jesus has got this! He will take care of me and He will take care of the church when I am gone. He will bring everything to pass that he has promised and I can rest in Him. I know Him and I also know that the day is coming when He will come and make everything right!”
One day each of us will also face the end of our life. Though right at this moment we may wish we knew Christ better, we can draw courage from today’s verse that if we trust Him completely then on that day He will help us to know Him just as Paul did. Jesus will take over and keep everything we have put in His hands and then He will take our hand and lead us until that day!
We used to sing the hymn with these words and though the melody is old fashioned, the words never go out of style. I pray each of you to know Him fully and to trust Jesus until that day! Have a blessed week.!
So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. Acts 27:25 ESV
This past week I have been cleaning up the flower beds and planting seeds at my sister in law’s. While she is in hospice care at home my wife is cooking and helping with personal care while I weed, water and trim. Those seeds I plant give Diane hope because every one put in the ground says, “Come back in six weeks and I’ll show you my blooms!” Those seeds reminded me of the story of Saint Paul in the storm.
When Paul was going through that storm the easiest thing to do would have been to complain and blame everyone else. Yet though we can be sure that Paul prayed plenty the text seems to say that God just sent an angel with a message of hope while he was sleeping. Get the picture? Everyone was desperately fighting the storm, but Paul said his prayers, trusted God and lay down to rest! Then when Paul woke up he passed that hope on to everyone else who was in the same boat with him.
When we plant seeds, our garden doesn’t do anything. Its job is simply to receive. We as the gardeners do all the work and the garden gets to give joy to anyone who sees the flowers when they bloom. If we are believers in Jesus Christ then we each are a part of God’s big garden. God plants some seeds of hope in all of us especially when we are facing storms. Maybe we should ask, “What seeds of hope has he given me that I might show to others as they face their storm today?