Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Acts 27:13-38 (NRSV)
When a moderate south wind began to blow, they thought they could achieve their purpose; so they weighed anchor and began to sail past Crete, close to the shore. But soon a violent wind, called the northeaster, rushed down from Crete. Since the ship was caught and could not be turned head-on into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven. By running under the lee of a small island called Cauda we were scarcely able to get the ship’s boat under control. After hoisting it up they took measures to undergird the ship; then, fearing that they would run on the Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and so were driven. We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard, and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship’s tackle overboard. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.
Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul then stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss. I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we will have to run aground on some island.”
When the fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea of Adria, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they took soundings and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on they took soundings again and found fifteen fathoms. Fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. But when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and had lowered the boat into the sea, on the pretext of putting out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat and set it adrift.
Just before daybreak, Paul urged all of them to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been in suspense and remaining without food, having eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for none of you will lose a hair from your heads.” After he had said this, he took bread; and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat. Then all of them were encouraged and took food for themselves. (We were in all two hundred seventy-six persons in the ship.) After they had satisfied their hunger, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.
The people had gone without food due to their constant distress during this time of uncertainty about their situation. Just as they didn’t know if they would survive the literal storm in which they were caught, we often wonder if we can survive our metaphorical storms. Too often we take action without praying first. We try to fix the situation by “throwing things overboard” or “dropping anchor,” making a game plan on our own. We may vent to family and friends, throwing a quick prayer of pleading words in here or there, but we fail to pray until desperation hits
When life’s storms hit, if we turn to prayer immediately, listen to God’s voice and heed God’s direction, we can avoid so much distress. We will not feel the effects of going fourteen days without food, for we will have been feeding our souls the entire time. Prayer will allow us, like Paul, to encourage others even through the most difficult struggles of our lives.
God, please teach us to slow down when storms hit us, spend time in prayer with you, and really listen for your voice. Help us to follow your direction instead of allowing stress and chaos to take over. Thank you for shouldering our burdens and for the comfort of knowing we may lose many things in this life, but we will never lose you. Amen.
Go with God.