Acts 27 tells us that Paul had been imprisoned and the authorities put him on a ship to Rome. They encountered a storm so bad that Paul thought he was going to die on the open sea. But then he refocused his mind on God and moved from fear to peace.
Verse 25 is where we find our first storm survival strategy: trust God in the storm. God reassured Paul that he was going to get through. Paul is even able to encourage others in the middle of the storm because he completely trusted God. In the same way, we need to turn to God when the storms roll in.
The storm raged on relentlessly for 14 days. Some crew members sensed they were getting closer to land so they decided to lower the life boat and try to make a run for shore. Paul warned them that this was a bad idea.
Here is the second strategy: stay on the ship. You will not get to where God wants you to go unless you buckle down. Keep trusting God. Stay on the ship. You cannot have one foot in your faith and one foot somewhere else. You cannot sort of trust God and sort of not trust God. Completely abandon yourself to God.
You might think your lifeboat is divorce, Jim Beam or Jack Daniels. It might be drugs, anger, isolation or suicide. But don’t give up on God. Don’t give up on yourself or settle for a back up plan. Stay on the ship, trust God to get you through.
The third strategy is, take care of yourself. Right in the middle of the storm, Paul tells his shipmates to take a break and eat something. The waves were still raging, the wind was still blowing, and somehow they managed to care for themselves.
They trusted God, stayed on the ship, rested up, and then Paul praised God. This is the fourth storm survival strategy, praise God in the storm.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11
You need a ‘yet’ praise when you are in the storm.
I am having financial problems yet I praise the Lord.
I am having relational problems yet I praise the Lord.
I am having health problems yet I praise you.
I am hurting, yet I praise you.
You need a “yet” praise when you’re in a storm.
Can you get to the yet part of your prayer?
As soon as it looked like they would make it to shore, they struck a sand bar where the ship blew apart from the wind and the waves. “43 But the centurion… ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.” Acts 27:43-44
The final storm survival strategy is this: Believe that God can take you to your destination on broken pieces. Maybe you are so focused on what you have lost, you cannot see what God has left you. We want the whole ship to arrive safely in the port, yet God may only provide you with the pieces you need.
You can move from wounded to wonderful if you hold onto the people God provides you, the hope God gives you. Hold on to a piece of that dream and let it develop into something new. Let’s praise God for what he is going to do and for what he has already done. Hold on to what’s left and praise God.