Dealing with the Storms of Life

Dealing with the Storms of Life

The Christian life is not at all a bed of roses. We will all face the storms of life as we journey with the Lord. But how should we deal with them? How should we respond when storms come and how do we overcome them?

In today’s post, we will look at the account of Paul as he sailed to Rome. It was indeed a challenging journey because of the hindrances they had to overcome. But it gives the believer some powerful lessons about the storms of life and how we should respond.

Paul Sails for Rome

In Acts chapter 27, we read of Paul’s journey to Rome along with Luke and the other prisoners. Paul was not the only prisoner that Julius and his men are taking to Rome (Acts 27:1).

They left on a ship whose home port was Adramyttium on the northwest coast of the province of Asia. And it was scheduled to make several stops at ports along the coast of the province. They passed along the province of Lycia and got on board an Egyptian ship bound for Italy.

Paul's Voyage to Rome Acts 27
Photo Credit: Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

But arriving in Rome was easier said than done because of the wind and storm (Acts 27:2-5).

After many days of sailing, the strong winds hindered their progress, thus, taking them several days to get to Cnidus. The pilot then steered south-southwest to Crete passing Salmone and finally struggling into Fair Havens. It had been the most difficult voyage and a portent of things to come (Acts 27:9-10).

Lessons about the Storms of Life

What’s interesting about this account is how Luke, an accurate historian, presented the important facts of their voyage. Perhaps, the major purpose Luke had in mind was the presentation of Paul as a courageous leader.

Having said that, there are four lessons we can learn from Paul’s Journey to Rome.

1. Storms Come as a Result of Disobedience

First of all, storms come when we disobey the will of God. Needless to say, Jonah is a good example of this truth. Jonah had to experience being in the belly of a giant fish before obeying God.

In the case of Paul, he was not at fault. Rather, it was the centurion in charge of the ship. When Paul perceived that their voyage would end in disaster, he warned them (Acts 27:10). However, the centurion did not heed Paul’s warning. Instead, he followed the advice of the pilot and the owner of the ship (Acts 27:11).

Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided to sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. While at sea, the storm grew worse and they took a violent battering from the storm. This lasted for many days making the situation seemed hopeless. And it all happened because one man would not listen to God’s messenger.

What happened to Paul tells us that sometimes we suffer because of other people’s unbelief. You see, disobedience does not always have to come from our end. There are times when we go through the storms of life because somebody in the “boat” with us rebelled against God.

2. Storms Reveal Character

Second, storms have a way of revealing character.

On their journey to Rome through Cyprus and Crete, their ship was caught in a storm at sea. At first, the crew did everything they could to keep the ship afloat. They bound ropes around the hull of the ship to strengthen it and lowered the sea anchor to slow the ship (Acts 27:17).

In the following days as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, they began throwing the cargo overboard. They even took some of the ship’s gear and threw it overboard (Acts 27:18-19). It is evident that everybody was terrified to death so they started throwing things overboard to lighten the ship’s load.

But the terrible storm continued to rage for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars. That was when the sailors and the crew thought that all hope was gone.

But Paul trusted God and obeyed His will. When God impressed in his heart that they were about to face trouble at sea, Paul warned the ship’s officers about it. But they did not listen to him.

Yet, he exemplified the true character of a leader by taking command of a difficult situation in a time of great crisis. What a difference when a person has faith in God. Instead of wishing for a change or selfishly trying to escape (Acts 27:29-30), Paul got ready for the demands that could come.

How do you respond to a situation like this? Do you easily get rattled? Do you keep your calm and be still? Will you trust God to instruct you on what you must do and then do exactly what He says?

Paul Shipwrecked at Malta
Photo Credit: IndependentdotComdotMt

3. Storms Cannot Hinder God’s Purpose

Third, even the worst storm cannot hide the face of God or hinder His purpose.

While at sea on a ship, Paul, Luke, and the other prisoners faced a terrible storm. After doing all they could, the situation remained hopeless and they finally gave up.

But a messenger from the Lord visited Paul and assured him that he would arrive safely in Rome. The ship and the cargo would be lost but all the passengers would be spared and cast on an island. God has purposed that Paul would stand trial before Caesar in Rome and no storm could hinder that.

God has a plan and purpose for every one of us and no matter what storms of life we may face along the way, God will overrule. As one pastor often says in his sermon, “There is nothing that is beyond God’s control. He may allow bad things to happen but in the end, His purpose will prevail.”

We can see this repeatedly illustrated in the lives of many of God’s people in both the Old and the New Testaments. If God did it before, He will do it today because He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8).

4. Storms are Opportunities for Witnessing

Finally, storms can give us opportunities to serve others and bear witness to Jesus Christ.

On his voyage to Rome, Paul was with other prisoners placed in the custody of a Roman officer named Julius, a captain of the Imperial Regiment. But unlike Paul, they were most probably going to Rome to die and not to stand trial. What mercy that they met Paul who could tell them how to go to heaven when they died!

Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was also with them along with the ship’s captain and officer in charge of the prisoners.

As the weather was becoming dangerous for sea travel, Paul warned of trouble ahead. And when they were about to dock, the sailors selfishly tried to escape and save their own lives. But Paul assured them that the God he serves has granted safety to everyone sailing with him (Acts 27:24-25).

For the two weeks that they were at sea, no one ate because they were so worried and Paul urged them to eat. He took the bread and openly prayed and gave thanks to God (Acts 27:34-36). The sailors and officers joined him, and before long everybody felt better.

Paul saw an opportunity to share God’s goodness and he did not waste time. Offering thanksgiving to God openly is a good example for us to follow when we are eating in public places.

Whenever you face the storms of life, know that God does not only allow them to strengthen your faith in Him. Difficulties, trials, and even sufferings are doors of opportunity for you to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God with those in need.

Romans 1:16, NIV

Conclusion

The situation on the ship looked hopeless! But Paul was there and his presence made all the difference. He was the most valuable man on that ship! He knew how to pray, he had faith in God, and he was in touch with the Almighty.

At times, one dedicated believer can change the whole atmosphere of a situation simply by trusting God and making that faith visible.

Let the account of Paul’s voyage to Rome be a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness in carrying out His purpose. You may find yourself regularly battling the storms of life. But know that God is using these circumstances to teach you a lesson.

It could be that God wants to teach you the importance of obedience and submission to His will. He could be in the process of molding your character or allowing you to witness to others. God may also allow you to experience the rage of the storm to increase your faith and dependence on Him.

How do you respond to the storms of life knowing that through them, God is teaching you important lessons? Will you be like Paul who stood firm in his faith and trusted God to carry out His will?


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource: 

Trusting God in Dark Times: Transforming Devotions for a Lifetime by Montray Ashly

It’s easy to trust God when everything is going well, but can you trust God in dark times when a loved one passes away, your child goes astray, your marriage fails, you’re battling an addiction, you lose your job, or experience financial hardship?

God wants you to trust Him no matter what. He wants to share in your despair and know that He is right there with you every step of the way even when you can’t feel Him or see Him at work. He wants you to experience the light of His presence during your dark times and desires for you to draw close to Him so that the light of His love can cover you.

Oftentimes, you feel alone and that no one cares but God feels your pain and wants to show you His love in the most unmeasurable ways. He also desires to demonstrate His power to help you overcome the obstacles you face.

During your fiery trials, God will make uncalculated moves in your life that will catapult you into another spiritual dimension and change the trajectory of your journey. When He doesn’t take you out of the fire, He’ll accompany you in it.

It is then, you’ll realize that the dark times of trouble did not come to harm you but to ultimately bless you. What God will do in you and for you during tumultuous times will increase your faith, renew your strength and encourage your heart.

You’ll discover that God is a healer of brokenness, a deliverer in the wilderness, and a provider in barrenness. You can trust God in dark times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.