Surviving the Storm

📅 May 31, 2020

Psalm 107: 25-30. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. 

One of the most dramatic and instructive accounts of faith while caught in a storm is Acts 27, when the apostle Paul is on a ship on his way to Rome to stand before Caesar.

Acts 21. Paul is arrested. Acts 22. He makes his great defense—giving his testimony. Acts 23. He is brought before the Sanhedrin. A great dissension arises between the Pharisees and Sadducees and…

Acts 23: 10…”the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.  [v.11] And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness in Rome.”

This is the promise Paul claimed and clung to through all the long weeks ahead.

Acts 24. Paul is brought before Felix. Acts. 25. …before Festus. [25:10-11] Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged…I appeal unto Caesar. Acts 26. Paul is brought to Agrippa. And Agrippa said unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he not appealed unto Caesar.

This was in A.D. 59. Nero had not yet revealed his true colors. Indeed, Paul may have been released from his first captivity, but now he was destined to more years in jail.

Acts 27. They enter into the ship and set sail.

By verse 4: “the winds were contrary.” Verse 9: “sailing was dangerous.” Verse 15: “the ship was caught, and could not bear into the wind.”

Paul receives assurance from God [verses 22-25] that he will be brought to Caesar and “God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.”

How do we survive life’s storms and bring along “all that sail” with us? 

Ride Out the Storm

Acts 27: 14-15 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind… And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.

Sometimes when you’re caught in a storm, there is nothing to do but ride it out. Like the obstacles in “Going on a Bear Hunt,” the children’s song, “can’t go over it, can’t go under it.”

But someday the storm will end.

Strengthen and Lighten

Acts 27:16-17 Running under the lee of a small island, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship.

They brought up the boat they were hauling behind them and undergirded the ship. These were cables or some kind of rope to stiffen the timbers and keep the ship from bulging in the strong tempest. They also threw the goods and merchandises overboard, being ready to do without them than to die with them.

Note the dual procedure: Undergirding (strengthening) the ship and lightening their load.

How to find strength:

Turn to the Bible. 

Jeremiah 15:16. Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart.

Read all the help books you want, but there is no substitute for the Word of God when you are caught in a storm and sinking.  

Turn to God and talk to Him honestly.

Elijah: after God fed him at the brook Cherith, after the miracle for the widow, after fire fell from Heaven, after he executed the prophets of Baal, after he outran Ahab’s chariot, Jezebel threatens to kill him and that is the last straw for the mighty, fearless prophet.

I Kings 19:4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O, Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 

We can bemoan Elijah’s lack of faith and depression, resulting from exhaustion, but he knew God well enough that he could be honest with Him, and when He was, God answered.

Let us stop praying as if everyone else is listening and as if God does not already know the thoughts of our hearts. Be honest with God. 

Turn loose of what you can.

Acts 27:18 Since were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo.

Hebrews 12: 1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

Into everyone’s life comes a time when you cannot do what you used to. Perhaps because of physical limitations, financial limitations, or emotional limitations. When this happens, let go of what weight you can.

Finally, [the story continues for 26 more verses] they find refuge on an island. Paul would be delivered to Rome and confront Nero with the Gospel.

“There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desiring to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what to do? Simply wait. Wait in prayer. Call upon God, and spread the case before Him; and tell Him your difficulty, and plead His promise of aid. Wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in Him. Believe that if He keep you tarrying, yet He will come at the right time.” Charles Spurgeon


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Holly Bebernitz

Native Texan Holly Bebernitz moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1967. After thirty years of teaching speech, English, and history on the secondary and college levels, she retired from classroom teaching to become a full-time grandmother. The change in schedule allowed the time needed to complete the novel she had begun writing in 1998. When Trevorode the Defender was published in March 2013, the author realized the story of the Magnolia Arms was not yet complete.


Semi-Finalist - 2021 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition - Florida Writer's Association