One Out of 276

“Therefor take heart, men, for I believe God
that it will be just as it was told me”
(Acts 27:25).

In chapter 42 of The Acts of the Apostles, Ellen G. White masterfully recounts the shipwreck suffered by Paul, narrated in Acts 27. In those days, travelling by sea brought countless difficulties and dangers. The journeys were made oriented by the sun and the stars. In stormy seasons there were no trips, beacause safe navigation was almost impossible.

In this account, the ship faces a fierce storm, endiing in its shipwreck off the coast of Malta. Paul endured the hardships of that long journey to Italy as a chained prisoner, and because his health was delicate, the Roman centurion, Julius, showed consideration in allowing him to be with his friends.

The opposing winds forced the ship to make a stop at an intermediate port. Since the could not stay there (and if they did they would not make it to their final destination in time), they had to set sail. Soon after, the ship, whipped by the storm, with its mast broken and sails ripped to shreds, was tossed back and forth by the fury of the sea.

There wasn’t a moment’s rest for anyone. For fourteen days, 276 people (Acts 27:37) were left adrift (v. 16) under a sky without sun and without stars. As a logical consequence, they had lost all hope of being saved (v. 20). Were all hopeless? No. There was one who had words of hope for the darkest hour and held out a helping hand in such an emergency.

He was one who clung by faith from the arm of infinite power; his faith rested on God. He had no fears for himself – he knew that his Creator would preserve him to testify in Rome for the truth of Christ. Even in an extreme situation, his heart was moved by the poor souls around him.

This one was the great apostle Paul, who almost illogically commanded all to be in good spirits because there would only be material losses, none human. Why? He was resting upon the divine promises: “For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Ceasar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you’ ” (Acts 27:23-24). These words shook their apathy and arouse hope, and they renewed their efforts. What happened in the end? “And so it was that they all escaped safely to land” (v. 44).

Paul was a minority… one out of 276! He was sick, suffering in his own flesh the strong wind and the icy water, and chained. But he was a prisoner of his faith and free from his sins. He had an identity because he knew who he was and whom he served. And he – the one out of 276 – was decisive.

It may be that your circumstances
are not as unfavorable as Paul’s, but…
your testimony and faithfulness,
along with your hope,
need to be the same as Paul’s.

God bless you, let’s be faithful, and hopeful. Let’s be the one out of many!