Today’s devotion is written by Dr. Bob Bushong.
What a powerful passage this is, as the drama of Luke’s narrative moves from an intentional emphasis on the unmistakable experience of life-threatening danger on the journey on which Paul and his crew are engaged, to the declaration of God’s promise.
There is a powerful shift in this pericope from verse 20, that depicts a sky so dark in the midst of the raging storm that “no sun nor stars appeared for many days, and all hope of being saved was at last abandoned,” to verses 22-25 when Paul shares with his men the vision he had the night before in which an angel from God appeared and said, “Do not be afraid, Paul . . . God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.”
In verse 25, Paul shares his witness regarding the trustworthiness of God: “So keep up your courage, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.”
Though no doubt encouraging to him in a timely way, this would not have been a new thought for Paul. In addition to his relatively new-found faith in Jesus as the Christ, as a Jew Paul knew that in many places the Hebrew Scriptures declare the powerful presence of God in all dimensions and experiences in life.
Friends, God is always with us! Always! Though I often hear people pray some version of “God, please be with us,” a more appropriate version of that prayer might be, “God, please make us aware of your presence that never leaves us.”
Here are just a few verses from the Hebrew Scriptures that Paul would have known by heart that would have reminded him of that Truth: Isaiah 41:10; Deuteronomy 31:8; Isaiah 40:31; Jeremiah 1:9; Psalm 23:4; Psalm 27:1.
What are some others, from the Old or New Testament, from which you draw that remind you of that Truth?
Please share your thoughts, comments, and questions!