I think there is no greater frustration than to be right about something and yet watch people take the wrong action. The fact that people would go through fourteen days of fear and trying to hang on to their very lives because they didn’t listen to man named Paul who was in chains must have been frustrating to Paul. He gets his ‘I told you so’ moment once the storm starts but it must have been one of those things where he wished he wasn’t saying it. What follows is a story of courage and faith.
If we learn anything in life it is that disaster strikes. They can be small ones, medium-sized ones or larger ones. It really does not matter much because it is the disaster that our attention is on that matters regardless of size. For Paul the shipwreck was ultimately the end of a long trial that put 276 souls in the hand of God and in the end they would have to say it was only a matter of God’s grace that they were alive on the beach.
There are several lessons to this story starting with listening to God and following him in the first place. Had they done this, they would have been safe in harbor for the winter instead of fighting for their lives. The problem is that sometimes our fate is in the decision-making capacities of other. The centurion was in charge and so he listened to the expert instead of a prisoner. I don’t fault him for this because if we are honest we have done the same. Trusting God over an expert always challenges us for some reason. In any case though despite God’s warning not being heeded God still works to bring about their salvation in the storm.
I know critics like to say, why doesn’t God just stop the storm at this point. I am not sure other than would the warning to stay home meant anything if there was no storm. Sometimes what seems easiest to us is not the best solution. If you know as God your going to preserve everyone’s life, does not stopping the storm then become a tool to build faith and give credibility to your messenger? I also don’t think living in a rubber room would help humanity. We need the storms to help us grow.
The other lessons are many once we get this in our heads. The issue is never the storm but how we are going to respond to it. Are we going to learn and grow because of it or are we going to blame and sulk. We ask the wrong questions or look at the winds and waves instead of having faith in the God who can bring us through them. Paul’s faith led to everyone making it to shore alive. He now has a credibility to speak the gospel that he would not have had this incident not taken place. It might have been better for everyone to have listened in the beginning but God still worked despite his unheeded warning. We need to remember his guidance, his grace and his power.