now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. so they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. but striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. the bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. but the centurion, wishing to save paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. he ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. and so it was that all were brought safely to land. [acts 27:39-44]


sometimes, the world can clearly see the value of knowing a sovereign God.


here they are again, this crew of worn out sailors and soldiers, facing peril and possible death. they have all been encouraged by paul’s revelations from the Lord and have a new hope that their lives will be saved. the centurion who had previously dismissed paul’s advice and God’s wisdom, now realizes the value that paul brings because of his relationship with the God who is in control of this entire voyage. and so the paul’s life and the lives of the other prisoners are preserved. to some degree, this centurion is placing his trust in God.


had paul kept the revelation to himself, this would not be the case. had paul turned inward to despair, this would not be the case. had paul not cared well for the pagan community in which he now found himself, this would not be the case. God is using paul’s faithfulness to the true mission [the gospel!] to carry out his good and perfect plan.


and so the questions we must ask of ourselves are these: 


  • are we allowing God to use us in our context? 
  • are we being faithful to the true mission in our daily community? 
  • are we being faithful to the true mission in trials and hardships? 
  • are we proclaiming [verbally!] the promises of the God of hope? 
  • are we caring well for our neighbors and coworkers, families and classmates?
  • are we offering encouragement in the Lord to those around us?


if the answer to these questions is no, let today be a turning point! today can be a fresh start in which you become a bold ambassador for your King. might it be awkward? yes, at first. might it be difficult? Jesus promises it will! but will it be worth it?


do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. be faithful until death, and i will give you the crown of life. [revelation 2:10]




~arwen eastman