Not All Smooth Sailing

3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. 4 From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7 We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. 8 We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

9 Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement. So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.

13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. Acts 27:3-20

Presumably those sailing this ship were hardened sailors. They knew the seas and the winds like we know how to drive. It was a difficult and dangerous business to be in. They knew the risks going in and they knew the rewards when it was all done. But in this instance, it seemed like they were confused and unprofessional. Surely they would have known to do the things Paul suggested. After all, he wasn’t a sailor at all. He was merely a preacher.

Perhaps that’s the point. He wasn’t one of them but he was telling them what to do. Their pride forbade them from accepting his advice.

Recall that some of the disciples were in an empty fishing boat when Jesus told them to cast to the other side. The difference, of course, was that the disciples reluctantly did what the Creator of the Universe suggested they do.

What’s your ship like these days? Stormy, turbulent seas? Calm, smooth sailing? Having trouble with fellow sailors?

Fortunately, in all of those scenarios we can call out to Christ.

Yes, even in the smooth sailing. Especially in the smooth sailing.

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