“After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta.” (Acts 28:1)
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 the 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; and especially those who are not only His children; but are also His servants. He brings them safely through. Even through the hardest of 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. It says he shook it off and was unharmed (v. 5).
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; each 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 most assuredly 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 love Him, serve Him, and obey 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? Ponder that as you go through your day. Be encouraged and walk by faith, in the confidence and knowledge that God will not allow more than you can bear, and He will sustain you and bring you through safely ….
“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
Let us pray ~
Heavenly Father, You have indeed never failed me, and I believe You never will. You’ve allowed me to go through many trials, and at times have had to resort to adversity as a means of getting my attention to warn me about the path I was on. Yet, not once have You failed to see me through. And ultimately when I come to any crisis that would result in my death, you have and will continue to see me through till I am safely home. Thank you for caring for me so completely that all my worries, though perhaps valid are of no concern and I have nothing to fear. Help me to walk into this new day with courage and confidence in Your Word, freely serving You in all obedience; because You alone are my promise of peace and security, my promise of safety in any storm, and in You alone will I place my hope and trust. All this I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen ….