Monday, September 28, 2020


Share your stories and ideas with the network as you respond to crisis and disaster.

Feb 15
Steve Marr

Paul's Shipwreck- Lessons for Today

Posted by: Steve Marr

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In Acts 27:13-44 we read the story of the Apostle Paul and the shipwreck he survives after leaving Crete. Interestingly enough, as we look closer at the story we see a lot of parallels to how we respond in times of crisis.

 Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore.


Many disasters start gently- this one with a gentle breeze. Examples include the first rumbling of an earthquake may be minimal and when a hurricane is offshore the first wind is gentle. However, a gentle today does not mean a gentle tomorrow 


But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along.


We have our idea of where we are going and how to get there but when a disaster strikes, the disaster will move us, push us where we will go; events will shape us, we lose control


Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along.


The crew took action set a sea anchor, strengthened supports. Even with this preparation, the wind controlled them, not the other way around


Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.


Cargo was important to the ship and needed to be protected. However we see that during the storm, the cargo became expendable. The wealth of the ship was tossed away in an effort to save the ship and the people. In a disaster, what we thought was important suddenly becomes of little value. A recent example of this was the value of money in Haiti after the earthquake.

 Since they had been without food for a long time,

Demonstrates the need for preparations; even Paul lacked food

Paul stood up among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.

Paul was not listened to earlier but now that there is a disaster and he was proven right, people are listening. Today as we are encouraging people to prepare, we often have the same experiences of not being listened to.




Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.' So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island."

Gods Promise to Paul needed to be fulfilled. We have the promise of life, even if we die. This gives us a powerful opportunity to testify in the middle of a disaster.

When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms. A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms. And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come.

Even during a disaster you can take actions- in this case use anchors to slow the drift

And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved." Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.

Finally- others eventually listened to Paul because he had been proved right.

As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you." And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.

Food is important during a disaster; in this example, not everyone was ready to eat but Paul led the way

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.

While the ship was destroyed, all were saved

Personal application:

·         Listen to Gods warning

·         Act on Gods warning

·         Not everyone will listen

·         We will be listened to after proven right by events

·         We will never be able to control events, like Paul we need to see, understand and then follow God’s path

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