Unstoppable! 'Futile Efforts at Sailing' — Acts 27:16-19

Thursday, December 15, 2022

[Luke described Paul's difficult journey sailing to Rome:] We sailed along the sheltered side of a small island named Cauda, where with great difficulty we hoisted aboard the lifeboat being towed behind us. Then the sailors bound ropes around the hull of the ship to strengthen it. They were afraid of being driven across to the sandbars of Syrtis off the African coast, so they lowered the sea anchor to slow the ship and were driven before the wind.

The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. The following day they even took some of the ship's gear and threw it overboard. The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.

— Acts 27:16-19 NLT

Key Thought

Sometimes, unfortunately, we have to reach the end of our abilities to manage desperate situations before we surrender to God, who longs to save us. The captain and crew ignored Paul's warnings.* As the storm engulfed them, they did all within their power as experienced sailors to survive. Exhausted and realizing their efforts could not quiet the storm or keep their ship safe, they lost hope. Fortunately, as we will see as the story continues, they had Paul on board. Paul's confidence in God's revelation (Acts 27:23-24) preserved many lives. For me, however, the principle of the story at this point is clear: Don't wait until disaster is near to listen to God and his spokesperson! As God had told Israel centuries earlier, "Seek me and live!"**

* See the first Related Scripture Reading.
** See the second Related Scripture Reading.

Today's Prayer

Father, forgive me for the times that I have listened to wrong voices. Forgive me for the times I have felt that I knew better than older, wiser, more spiritual voices and even better than you sometimes. Open my eyes and heart to your truth as I seek to honor you and find the way of life you have for me. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Acts 27:9-11
  • Amos 5:4-6 NIV

Comments

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 27:16-19 NLT — [Luke described Paul's difficult journey sailing to Rome:] We sailed along the sheltered side of a small island named Cauda, where with great difficulty we hoisted aboard the lifeboat being towed behind us. Then the sailors bound ropes around the hull of the ship to strengthen it. They were afraid of being driven across to the sandbars of Syrtis off the African coast, so they lowered the sea anchor to slow the ship and were driven before the wind.

The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. The following day they even took some of the ship's gear and threw it overboard. The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.