After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta (Acts 28:1, ESV).
I think we can all agree that this life—even the Christian life—is no merry-go-round at Disneyland. It’s generally hard, gets harder, and sometimes feels like it’s close to nearly blowing apart.
Such was the experience of Paul, who (I think we’d also agree) remains even today the image of a sold-out, bought-in, boldly authentic follower and servant of Jesus. Yet life was certainly no cakewalk for him.
As the book of Acts winds to a close, Paul’s tumultuous life plays out on the high seas in a monstrous storm that resulted in complete shipwreck, not only delaying his long-desired chance to visit Rome (albeit as a prisoner of the state), but also thrashing him onto a remote island along with all the other passengers and crew for three months of wintering and waiting for another sailing vessel to come along.
Yet despite what they’d been through . . . despite the gale-force winds of what the Bible describes as a northeaster . . . despite the ship being tossed up and down like a rag doll on the waves . . . despite many days of neither sun nor stars and dim-looking hopes of survival . . . and despite the soldiers’ plan to kill all the onboard prisoners and make for shore on whatever pieces and planks of splintered ship they could find . . . Paul and each of the wearied passengers were finally “brought safely through.”
Aren’t those some of the sweetest words in the Bible? Brought safely through.
God’s servants are always provided for. He just takes care of His children—especially those who are not only His children but are also His servants. He brings them safely through. Even through the hardest times.
Paul had been assured by God during the height of their ordeal that he needn’t be afraid—that he would not be kept from standing before Caesar, and that all the people on the ship would be rescued. Even after landfall, when a venomous snake leapt from a stack of firewood and dug its fangs into Paul’s hand, he suffered no ill effects from the bite. Even in this unfamiliar, unplanned stop on the journey, God provided opportunity for Paul to minister to the island natives, who then supplied him and the others with everything they needed for their continued voyage.
Even with so much to suffer and endure, God’s servant Paul was “brought safely through.”
If you could go back and read past journal entries from your life—with every event, detail, feeling, and concern recorded—I know you could write above each page the same hard-won words of gratitude: “brought safely through.” It doesn’t make the experiences themselves any less frightening. It doesn’t minimize the enormity of what you suffered. But sometimes all we really need to know—in determining how to face the tense situations that are right now upon us or are sure to come—is that when all is said and done, nothing can keep them from being summed up by the same three-word banner.
“Brought safely through.”
It’s what God always does for those who serve Him.
• What has the Lord brought you safely through—that you thought you’d never survive?
• Who’s somebody that might need to hear your testimony of those times and their aftermath,
as an encouragement for what they’re facing today?
Heavenly Father, You have never failed me, and You never will. You’ve allowed me to go through many trials, and
You’ve at times resorted to using adversity as a means of getting my attention and warning me about the path I was on. But not once have You failed to see me through. And ultimately when I come to the crisis that will result in my death, even then You will bring me safely home. Thank You for caring for me so completely that all my worries—even though they’re attached to real concerns—are really nothing to fear. Help me walk into the new day with courage and confidence, freely serving You, because You are my promise of ultimate safety. In Jesus’ name, amen.
— James MacDonald
For more from James MacDonald and the “Walk in the Word” Bible teaching ministry, visit WalkInTheWord.com.