When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many questions about seafarers’ being able to get home. Long delays, extended contracts, and quarantine requirements weighed heavily, and the sheer uncertainty of when it all might be over caused mental anguish. Facing a storm can be hard enough, but when people face the possibility that the storm might not pass, they can run the risk of losing all hope.
The story in Acts 27 describes the apostle Paul traveling to Rome as a prisoner on a ship. Bad weather at sea could be expected for a few days at a time, but in this case the ship was caught in a storm that had been raging for a couple of weeks. Without seeing the sun or stars, the sailors could not even guess the position of their vessel. The crew and passengers must have felt battered and beaten. The text says they had stopped eating; many gave up hope and were ready to die.
But God sent an angel to give everyone a message through Paul: “. . . God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” They were soon shipwrecked, but all were able to get to shore safely. The storm ended. God was directing the situation, even when they had lost human hope.
Dear God, strengthen our faith and show us the hope that is found in you. Keep us safe when storms rage in our lives. We ask for the protection of your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.