Saturday, October 27
Everyone on your boat!
Scripture: Job 18, Psalm 114, Acts 27-28
Acts 27:23-24 For last night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me 24 and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. It is necessary for you to appear before Caesar. And indeed, God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.’
In the midst of the storm, God appears to Paul and tells him that he is not going to die in a shipwreck; he is going to Rome to appear before Caesar. He has a divine appointment with Caesar, and no storm will stop him. And not only will Paul survive, but God will graciously give him all the lives of those on board. Paul must have been praying for all of them—and God answered his prayer and spared the lives of everyone on the ship—276 people.
Who was on the ship? Here’s what we know: sailors, a centurion and soldiers, Paul and his two companions, Luke and Aristarchus, and other prisoners. We know that the owner of the ship and the captain were involved in the decision to sail on from Fair Havens, which was mid-journey, so most likely they were on board too. We also know that they threw the grain overboard just before grounding; it is probable this was a commercial ship carrying a load of grain and other goods—so perhaps some merchants were aboard as well. It’s a potpourri of people! From wealth and power (owner, captain, centurion) to lots of “middle class” (soldiers and sailors) to the bottom rung (prisoners).
All these people, most of them strangers to Paul until this voyage, were spared due to Paul’s presence.
I know this is a stretch…but what if God would give each of us the lives of everyone sailing with us? What if we began to pray for everyone “on our boat?” All the people that are thrown into our lives seemingly by chance, just like the people on Paul’s boat—what if our prayers and presence meant that they’d be saved? Our family and extended family, our neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and people that we interact with serendipitously all week at the gym, store, club, course, church…anywhere.
Suddenly, I see people differently, with new eyes, and I begin to pray for everyone on my boat. While God is saving me, He may be saving everyone with me on my boat!
Prayer: Lord, help me see people through new eyes and pray with new fervency for each person You bring into my life. Just like Paul walked out of the surf on the beach at Malta and saw 275 people coming behind him, I’d like to walk into your presence one day and see thousands from my boat walking in behind me!