Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 43-45; Acts 27:27-44
39 In the morning light they saw a bay with a sandy beach. They didn’t know what land it was, but they thought they might possibly be able to run the ship aground. 40 They cut the anchors loose and left them in the sea. At the same time, they untied the ropes that ran back to the rudders. They raised the foresail to catch the wind and made for the beach. 41 But they struck a sandbar and the ship ran aground. The bow was stuck and wouldn’t move, and the stern was broken into pieces by the force of the waves. 42 The soldiers decided to kill the prisoners to keep them from swimming to shore and escaping. 43 However, the centurion wanted to save Paul, so he stopped them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and head for land. 44 He ordered the rest to grab hold of planks or debris from the ship. In this way, everyone reached land safely. (Acts 27:39-44, Common English Bible).
When I was in the Navy, my ship was entering the port of Rosyth Scotland (Across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh). Before we left Norfolk Virginia the ship needed about ten feet of its mast removed. Even with the shorter mast, we still anchored and waited for low tide in order to fit under the bridge connecting Rosyth with Edinburgh. As we passed under the bridge the Captain told us all to hold our breath. We got through without a problem but we still could not approach the pier. Once clear of the bridge we dropped anchor and waited for high tide so we could cross over the sandbar. Once we were over the sandbar we could approach the pier but during our entire stay, during low tide, we literally sat with our keel on the bottom of the harbor.
On another occasion, we were approaching a pier. We were moving too fast. Within a matter of a few minutes, we came close to a collision with the pier and with running aground because of a harbor pilot that didn’t know what he was doing. We ended up sitting in the middle of the harbor at anchor for the rest of the time we were in that port.
Sandbars can be an obstruction preventing ships and sailors from arriving at their intended destination on time or keep them from arriving there at all. It took several hours to arrive in Rosyth. In the second case, we never tied up to the pier at all.
As Paul was making his way to Rome for his appearance before the emperor, he and those on the ship were facing danger. Running aground, even today is not much fun. In Paul’s day, it was a life-threatening circumstance. It is much more difficult to tear into the hull of a steel ship today (please note, I said difficult, not impossible) that it was with the wooden ships that still sailed the seas 200 years ago. The ship where Paul found himself would have been much the same.
The ship comes to a stop on a sandbar but the waves approaching the beach do not. They would beat on the ship. Eventually, at least in most cases, the ship would eventually begin to break apart, as it did with Paul and the others.
It makes me question, how often do we sail through life. Often we don’t have a care in the world. Or, perhaps we have many cares, to the point our life is potentially in jeopardy. Then, whether we are experiencing good or bad, things suddenly get worse. We hit the unseen obstacle in our way and we find ourselves stuck. Then worse hits again. The ship starts breaking apart. Sitting and waiting it out, hoping the high tide will free us and send us back to sea is no longer an option.
For Paul, there were many concerns and things got worse when he hit the sandbar. They were worse still when the ship started coming apart.
It can be that way for us too. When the unseen obstacle gets in our way and the ship starts coming apart, it is vital for us to weigh our options and move forward. Paul couldn’t go back, he had to move forward. The same happens to us. Never let the obstacles of life keep you from moving forward and going to the place where God is calling you.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved