27 On the 14th night we were still being driven across the Sea of Adria. About midnight the sailors had a feeling that they were approaching land. 28 They measured how deep the water was. They found that it was 120 feet deep. A short time later they measured the water again. This time it was 90 feet deep. 29 They were afraid we would crash against the rocks. So they dropped four anchors from the back of the ship. They prayed that daylight would come. 30 The sailors wanted to escape from the ship. So they let the lifeboat down into the sea. They pretended they were going to lower some anchors from the front of the ship. 31 But Paul spoke to the commander and the soldiers. “These men must stay with the ship,” he said. “If they don’t, you can’t be saved.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat. They let it drift away. 33 Just before dawn Paul tried to get them all to eat. “For the last 14 days,” he said, “you have wondered what would happen. You have gone without food. You haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I am asking you to eat some food. You need it to live. Not one of you will lose a single hair from your head.” 35 After Paul said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God. He did this where they all could see him. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 All of them were filled with hope. So they ate some food. 37 There were 276 of us on board. 38 They ate as much as they wanted. They needed to make the ship lighter. So they threw the rest of the grain into the sea. 39 When daylight came, they saw a bay with a sandy beach. They didn’t recognize the place. But they decided to run the ship onto the beach if they could. 40 So they cut the anchors loose and left them in the sea. At the same time, they untied the ropes that held the rudders. They lifted the sail at the front of the ship to the wind. Then they headed for the beach. 41 But the ship hit a sandbar. So the front of it got stuck and wouldn’t move. The back of the ship was broken to pieces by the pounding of the waves. 42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners. They wanted to keep them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the commander wanted to save Paul’s life. So he kept the soldiers from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and swim to land. 44 The rest were supposed to get there on boards or other pieces of the ship. That is how everyone reached land safely.
When I read this passage, I found it challenging to quickly see an application. I was caught up in the story of the shipwreck. I thought I’d share the process of S.O.A.P (scripture, observation, application, and prayer) that helped me hear God’s message for me in it.
My key observations:
Paul, although a prisoner, acts as a leader, holding fast to the word God gave him.
Fourteen days is a long time without food.
He gave thanks to God in the midst of the storm, and he did so in front
of them all.
Seek God’s word for your life. Hold fast to the word God gives you. With faith, pursue it. Even if it seems a long time coming. It will not fail.
In the mean time, find the hand of God, his gifts of grace for you personally, and thank Him. Find a way to proclaim it publicly. Express your thanks with your voice or in writing (perhaps in your social media?)
Thank you God. I am grateful for your sure and living word. You never leave me, but provide even in the storm. You are always near so I need not be anxious. Give me eyes to see your hand everyday and help me develop
expressions of thanks in every situation.
Written by Lyndall Gourlay