Articles by Stan Dean

Take Heart

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     One of the fascinating narratives of the New Testament is Paul’s voyage to Rome recorded in Acts, chapters 27 and 28. His preaching had led to him being arrested by the enemies of the gospel. And when he could not convince the local authorities that he was innocent of the charges they made against him, he appealed to Caesar (Acts 25:12). Thus, he was sent to Rome.

​     Paul knew it was a dangerous time of year to make such a trip at sea and warned the centurion who was in charge of him. Nevertheless, the centurion was persuaded by the helmsman and owner of the ship to set sail anyway. So, they boarded an Alexandrian ship at Myra carrying wheat to Rome. It did not take long, however, for them to realize they should have listened to Paul’s warning for they were soon engulfed in an unrelenting storm. 

​     The storm was so fierce they could not navigate it, so they “struck sail” and were driven by the wind for days. Luke then makes this sobering statement, “Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat upon us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up” (Acts 27:20). Thus, of the 276 people on that ship, apparently 275 felt that their death was imminent.

​     It was at this point that Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “There stood by me this night an angel of God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me” (Acts 27:23-25).

​     I wonder how difficult it was for these men to “take heart. After all, the storm had not stopped. The winds were still blowing and the waves were still lapping over the ship. But eventually everything happened just as God had said.

     ​The lesson for you and me is the same: Take heart- - even when the storm is still raging! God has promised His people, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Thus, may we have the confidence of Paul and say, “I believe God that it will be just as it was told me!”

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