Viper on the Attack

“But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm”
(Acts 28:5).

Aldi Novel Adilang, a nineteen-year-old Indonesian man, survived forty-nine days adrift in the open sea, atop a floating fish hatchery. He was working when strong winds broke the moorings and sent him offshore. He was rescued by a freighter ship when he was more than 1,200 miles away, in Guam waters; he disembarked in Japan. During his odyssey, he had to deal with loneliness, fear, thirst, and hunger. He had a Bible, and he clung to it and to the God of the Bible. After the rescue, he returned with great joy to his family.

The Bible speaks of another shipwreck, which Paul and his fellow sailing companions in Malta, a rocky island about sixty miles from Sicily, Italy. They were greeted by islanders, in cold weather, but warmly treated. Just saved from an icy sea, they were around a bonfire, warming up. The ever-helpful Paul helped gather branches to add to the fire, and it was just at that moment that a snake bit him and remained hanging on his hand.

Undoubtedly, more than one must have thought, “Has he journeyed on the dangerous ocean only to die on the shore?” Absolutely not. Hadn’t God promised that he would testify of Him before Ceasar? Paul had enough reason to continue to trust.

Meanwhile, the frightened islanders waited for Paul’s poisoned body to collapse before their eyes. They thought that they were in the presence of a great criminal in chains, and that, having been saved from the shipwreck, he was struck by the goddess Dike, daughter of Zeus, who personified moral justice.

But time passed and, seeing that nothing happened, they changed their minds and considered Paul a god. The apostle remained calm and emerged unscathed, even honored, for oonly was his innocence demostrated, but he was also able to bear witness to God’s power and love.

This event shows not only the value of trusting in the Lord, but also how unstable our judgements are, since the islanders went from considering him a prisoner to considering him a god. Because of Paul they were all treated well and their needs were met during the three months that hey stayed there. “Paul and his fellow laborers improved many opportunities to preach the gospel. In a remarkable manner the Lord wrought through them” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 446).

Paul’s commitment to his mission and to hope
was such that nothing could stop him:
neither shipwreck, nor snakes, nor superstitions.
“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well,
But the certainty that something makes sense,
regardless of how it turns out”Vaclav Harvel. –
Like Paul, let us always fulfill God’s purpose.

God bless you, put your trust in His hands…