“Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you” (Acts 27:24).
The ship’s crew was still in the ocean for nearly two weeks, hungry and frightened, thinking that they were living their last hours. Paul gave them a message of hope: “Take heart,” “Do not be afraid.” In the same way, we must always have a word of hope for those who surfer, and of courage for those who are afraid. Paul told his traveling companions that an angel had visited him, and he shared the message he had received: it was God’s plan for Paul to appear before Caesar, and that none of them would perish, though the ship would be lost. He encouraged them to trust in God.
If you find yourself in the middle of a devastating tragedy, may your trust in God be contagious for those around you. Paul assured ‘Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me» (Acts 27:25). There was no reason to doubt, so his message begins and ends with the same exhortation: “Take heart.” They were probably surprised that a prisoner was giving them a message of confidence; which assured them that this was no ordinary felon. Although they had gone through days of danger and anguish, and there was no relief in sight, Paul was still full of trust.
Don’t lose your faith, even if you do not see an immediate answer from God. Don’t become sad or doubtful. God has heard your lament. “The religious life is not one of gloom and of sadness but of peace and joy coupled with Christlike dignity and holy solemnity. We are not encouraged by our Saviour to cherish doubts and fears and distressing forebodings; these bring no relief to the soul and should be rebuked rather than praised.“—Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, ch. $1, p. 476.
The sailors heard and believed Paul’s message that no one would perish if everyone stayed in the boat, so they cut loose the anchors, left them in the sea, and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Paul then ate some food and thanked God; the others were encouraged and did the same. Be a model of peace in the midst of tribulation. “One day alone is ours, and during this day we are to live for God. For this one day we are to place in the hand of Christ, in solemn service, all our purposes and plans, casting all our care upon Him, for He careth for us.”—find, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, ch. 50, p. 472.
No matter how strong the storm, it will always pass, but God’s blessings are eternal.