Enduring the Storms of Life: Acts 27:14-20
“14) But before very long there rushed down from the land a violent wind, called Euraquilo; 15) and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along. 16) Running under the shelter of a small island called Clauda, we were scarcely able to get the ship’s boat under control. 17) After they had hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along. 18) The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, they began to jettison the cargo; 19) and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20) Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned.” Acts‬ ‭27‬:‭14‬-‭20‬
The result of not listening to cautions and warming from the Holy Spirit can result in huge storms in our lives in the physical realm. In Acts 27:10, Paul had tried warning them of pending danger, but they refused to listen. Suddenly, they were fighting for their lives.
The meaning of a wind called “Euraquilo” is not clearly known. It means winds coming from every direction and changing quickly. They were most likely caught in a hurricane with erratically shifting winds and violent choppy waves beating against the ship.
Their fist mission was to save the landing boat. It was most likely being beaten against the hull of the ship. With much effort and hard work, they got it hoisted up and secured to the deck with ropes and cables. It most likely weighted a few tons itself.
Then came the fear that the planks on the ships hull would begin breaking away from the bulkheads. This would cause the ship to quickly fill with water and sink the vessel. The common precaution in severe storms was to “undergird the ship with ropes.” When done properly at intervals corresponding to the inner bulkheads down the full length of the ship, these formed a cradle to tightly secure the planks to the bulkhead. It was an ingenious plan used only in desperate measures.
The next measure was to jettison the cargo. The word “cargo” measures “the burden” on the ships hull. The more cargo, the greater the burden the hull had to endure. By lessening the cargo, it released stress on the ship.
This is the word picture Jesus used in Matthew 11:28 where He said; “come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” If you are breaking under your “burden” in life, Jesus promises to help if we unload our cargo unto Him.
Unloading the cargo helped, but then they endured the problem of the winds catching the sails and the very tall masks. Both the waves and the winds battled against them.
The next step was to cut away the sails, then they cut down the tall masks. Together these were know as the “ships tackle.” With the cargo gone, the leverage of the tall masks and tackle tossed the ship around like a bobber.
They had to deal with both inner cargo and outer leverage. One attempted fix without the other only compounded their problem. The same holds true for good Christian counseling, it deals with both inner burdens and external life forces. It is a paradox in life, but sometimes you need to give up control in an attempt to regain control.
Their goal was to lesson the influence and damage of the waves and wind against the hull of the ship. Jettisoning the cargo and casting off the tackle stabilized the ship but also meant that all control was lost.
Let me give an intriguing comparison. Cargo ships were designed to reach a predetermined destination. They were fairly sleek and fast. By compare, Noah’s ark was designed for a totally different mission. It was designed to endure the worse storm with the greatest possible stability and least damage. It had no tackle, sails, rudder or landing vessel. It was absolutely stable in the midst of the storm. Life was its precious cargo. God was its pilot.
To save us, God sometimes needs to bring us to swap ships and cargo in life. This is the meaning of the idiom; “let go and let God.” You might be at this point in a storm in your life right now. Could I suggest making Jesus your ark?
To his credit, though the captain made the wrong decision by embarking on the journey despite a warning from Paul, his emergency skills helped save lives. To his credit, though his counsel was rejected, Paul joined the crew and other passengers through the storm. A good leader joins the team, weathers the storm and doesn’t look back. There are points of no return in life.
This text was written to be informative and not instructional. It tells the story with no moral application. Yet there are lessons to be learned.
Life is full of storms and trails. Most of us will face peril filled journeys in life. You might want to evaluate what kind of vessel you choose to sail through life. When all is said, Jesus is my ark for the storms of life.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter

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