21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 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.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
As they sail on for Rome for Paul's trial before Caesar, the 276 men on the boat, including prisoners like Paul, are in danger of losing their lives. Despite Paul's warnings to stay put where they are, they go on almost to their own disaster. Though Paul is a prisoner on the ship, he takes control telling them when to eat and when the soldiers should cut rope on the lifeboats. This time they listen to Paul, and by doing so save their own lives.
Then, Paul shares with them that an angel of the God had appeared to him and told him that not one person would die. He admonishes them to take faith in the God who he belongs to and serves. Fourteen days later, he urges the men to eat. He takes the bread they have and gives thanks to God in front of them. They all eat what they need and throw the rest overboard. The next day they see land, and the ship gets stuck but some of the men were able to, swim in. They swim to the small island and bring the others in by the ship's planks. The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners so they wouldn't escape, but the centurion orders their lives to be saved on account of Paul.
Wow! This would make for a great "Prime Time" movie. As we have seen all along in the book of Acts, God is with Paul wherever he goes. Despite these life threatening circumstances, God uses Paul to spread the gospel with not only the prisoners on the ship, but the Roman soldiers and centurion as well. It is easy for us when our circumstances turn bad, to throw a "pity party". Paul shows us that God can use us anytime, anywhere and in any situation. Romans 8:28 says, "God works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose."
Where are you struggling to see God's purpose in your life? Like Paul, can you find a way to show that these circumstances can show others how you rely on God, and how your faith in God can give one confidence, wisdom and strength!