When a gentle southerly breeze came up, they weighed anchor, thinking it would be smooth sailing. But they were no sooner out to sea than a gale-force wind, the infamous nor’easter, struck. They lost all control of the ship. It was a cork in the storm. Acts 27:13-15 (TM)
A few years ago my boss planned a sailing trip for myself and a handful of co-workers on Lake Superior. There were no experienced sailors among us, so we were depending on Captain Coleman to help us make a night crossing from Bayfield, Wisonsin to Isle Royale National Park. We left on a gorgeous summer night, but as the sun set the sky became overcast and the wind came up. The waves swelled and the Captain trimmed the sails for rough weather, but still the wind grew.
To make a night crossing, two man shifts were set on a four hour basis. My partner, Scott, and I took the helm at midnight, though no one was sleeping below. It was pitch black. The rain was coming down in sheets and the wind was howling. The only guidance we had was the small, lit compass on the ship’s wheel. Keeping the ship on course was grueling work. You would fight the wind and wrench the wheel with all your strength to get the ship on course only to have a large wave would toss the ship in another direction.
We made the crossing safely, but Luke’s account of his and Paul’s shipwreck has taken on new meaning. I was in a state-of-the-art sailboat complete with excellent navigation and safety features. Paul and Luke were in a handmade ship with no navigation or safety features whatsoever. I was "at sea" for one long night. Paul and Luke went two weeks in the storm without being able to eat. Nevertheless, Paul was assured that God’s purpose would take him through the storm. He had the faith that they were all going to make it safely to shore.
Life throws a lot of storms at us. We are all going to experience times of being buffeted by the winds and waves of circumstance beyond our control. And yet, we have a great Captain who will see us safely to shore.