When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty. When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven. And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.
But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.”
I believe God. The God to whom I belong. The God I serve. Do not be afraid. To begin, do we believe God? Not in God, do we believe Him, when He speaks, do we believe it? Next, do we belong to God? As we ‘belong’ to spouse, children, parents….not in ownership, through kinship; do we belong to God? Then, are we serving God? What does that look like? Go to church on Sunday or whatever day is designated and that’s service? We are engaged in service when we feed our family, provide what is needed for healthy living. We are engaged in service when we feed our spiritual family, hearing the voice of God and sharing as Paul is doing here. So then, again, are we serving God? If the answer is affirmative then lose the fear. Take note that God did not say He would stop the storm, He said do not be afraid, and this is while the storm was raging, they had lost everything and were exhausted. Paul said , ‘I have faith in God…’ and acted on that faith in the telling to the men on board. Paul continued to share encouragement even while the storm was raging and it looked hopeless. Borrow courage from this passage and take heart. We belong to God, we are in His service, we will not fear and we will accomplish what He has given us to do. “…for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. …” – Paul. Say this with Paul, I believe God.