I love the story of Paul’s shipwreck in Acts 27. It is full of so many fantastic truths but one of my favorites is found in verses 33-36. We pick it up in verse 33 as the ship crew and prisoners onboard have been in a terrible storm for some time:
“Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.” (Acts 27:33-36, NIV)
What I love about this story is that it does not deny that we will walk through storms and difficult times in our lives. Indeed, even as God’s hand led Paul and his companions, they still encountered many unbearably difficult circumstances. But these verses remind us of one vital truth about walking with God – there is always sustenance in the storm.
God did not stop the storm, nor did he magically rescue His own from this difficult circumstance. But he sustained them. There was bread enough to eat and Paul, in his boundless faith, took a moment to give thanks for it and to share it.
Sometimes the storms in our lives are brought on through our own decisions, but at times they are brought through no fault of our own. Someone makes a bad decision that affects our lives, someone leaves, someone dies. And it’s really not fair, and we grieve for the peaceful land we came from and we can’t see the shore or what comes next.
But I believe this story tells us something about the character of God. We can’t always understand why we must face difficult circumstances, but we can be sure that He will sustain us. He will nourish us. He will give us gifts that we can be thankful for and, in the company of those around us, we can turn our faces toward heaven and give thanks and share this sustenance with others.
I am so grateful for a Father who remembers our need. I can’t tell you why you’re going through the storm that you’re in, but I can tell you that He who brought you into the storm will sustain you through it and will keep you until you reach the shore.
What are some things God has done to sustain you through storms you’ve walked through? What are some things in your life right now that are nourishing your soul?