“As soon as arrangements were complete for our sailing to Italy, Paul and a few other prisoners were placed under the supervision of a centurion named Julius, a member of an elite guard. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium that was bound for Ephesus and ports west. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, went with us. The next day we put in at Sidon. Julius treated Paul most decently—let him get off the ship and enjoy the hospitality of his friends there.


Out to sea again, we sailed north under the protection of the northeast shore of Cyprus because winds out of the west were against us, and then along the coast westward to the port of Myra. There the centurion found an Egyptian ship headed for Italy and transferred us on board. We ran into bad weather and found it impossible to stay on course. After much difficulty, we finally made it to the southern coast of the island of Crete and docked at Good Harbor (appropriate name!). By this time we had lost a lot of time. We had passed the autumn equinox, so it would be stormy weather from now on through the winter, too dangerous for sailing. Paul warned, ‘I see only disaster ahead for cargo and ship—to say nothing of our lives!—if we put out to sea now.’


But it was not the best harbor for staying the winter. Phoenix, a few miles further on, was more suitable. The centurion set Paul’s warning aside and let the ship captain and the shipowner talk him into trying for the next harbor.When a gentle southerly breeze came up, they weighed anchor, thinking it would be smooth sailing. But they were no sooner out to sea than a gale-force wind, the infamous nor’easter, struck. They lost all control of the ship. It was a cork in the storm.” Acts 27: 1-15 (MSG)



Paul was sailing to Rome to testify before Caesar as a prisoner for his faith. The journey to Rome was not easy. In the course of the entourages’ travel, they got behind because of a storm at sea. Because they were behind, it was not wise to press onward to the next destination. Paul warned the sailers, captain, and centurion, but they did not heed his warning. A whole ship of people were late on the ideal travel time, but they decided to go ahead and travel to a different port. At surface value, this plan seemed reasonable. Phoenix was only a few more miles away, and it would be a much better place to stay for the winter. The day came to set sail to Phoenix, but their plans were disrupted by a vicious storm at sea.


The storms in life come from a variety of sources. Sometimes we create the storms, while other times we are simply impacted by the storms created around us. Paul had no other option but to go on the ship to the next port. His warning was disregarded about the potential for storms. In life, our default response is to avoid storms at all possible costs. We want to have smooth sailing in our families, jobs, relationships, and life.  Yet, our desire can come in conflict with the decisions of people around us. You might not have made the decision at your job that launched the company into a downward spiral, but your job is being affected by that decision. You may not have made the decision for your family to move 1,500 miles away from you, but your future is being affected by it. The list could be endless of how we are affected by the decisions of others. Acts 27 goes on to tell us about how the storm destroyed the ship and the prisoners floated to the shore of an island on driftwood. It wasn’t an ideal outcome, but God didn’t allow this storm to end what God had called Paul to do. He won’t allow the storms you are facing to end your future destiny either. Whether you have been talked into a storm or just affected by the decisions of others around you, know that the waves and winds are not final. Though it may seem that everything is coming to an end, you will not drown when God is watching over you, even if the safety of your current “boat” is removed.

Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. 

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About Hona Amer

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