In the second to the last chapter of Acts Paul is shipwrecked on his way to Rome to stand trial before Caesar. It isn’t the first time. “Three times I was shipwrecked,” he writes to the Christians at Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:25).
In Acts 27 we do not have the longest, but we do have the most precise account ever given of an ancient sea voyage. Even Homer’s Odyssey does not contain the precise nautical terms used by St. Luke, the inspired historian and beloved physician.
With no sextant or compass, with no modern navigational equipment, men feared the sea as an “angry mistress.” They hugged the shoreline as much as possible in their voyages.
That healthy fear is still there. A hurricane over the ocean can lift 60 million tons of water and generate more power in 10 seconds than all the electrical power used in the United States in an entire year.
People on our southern coastlines know what incredible damage can be inflicted by 150 mph winds.
Throughout world history the death toll can be staggering. We note with sadness the 250 people lost in Hurricane Camille in 1969, or the 122 killed by Hurricane Agnes in 1972, or the 1,833 killed by Hurricane Katrina.
But these statistics pale in comparison to the 8,000 killed by Hurricane Fifi in Honduras in 1974, the 200,000 killed by a typhoon in Bangladesh in 1970, or the 280,000 who perish in the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004. The list is endless.
Twice during His earthly ministry, our Savior stilled the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee – chiding the disciples for their smallness of faith and bidding them to be of good cheer.
Mark Twain once said: “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
That’s because no one can – no one but Him whom wind and waves obey! So it is with every unpredictable and incontrollable storm of misfortune in your life and mine. Only Christ can still the storm! So He promises: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”