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Unsinkable Faith

Acts 27 finds the apostle Paul in a ferocious storm on board a ship sailing on the Mediterranean Sea. The journey began calmly enough (verse 13), but then Luke, the author of ACTS, tells us "a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon." The ship was quickly caught in the inescapable grip of this hurricane-force storm. The inspired narrative describes a terrifying ordeal that threatened the lives of all 276 souls on board (verse 37) . Luke's detailed account of the storm reminds us how hopeless and helpless humans are when we find ourselves directly in the path of nature's force and fury. Only one thing proved stronger than the howling winds that beat and battered the ship — the faith of Paul! The storm became so fierce and prolonged that "all hope that we would be saved was finally given up" (vs 20b). But then, at that darkest moment in the storm, an angel of God appeared to Paul, promising that he and all 275 others on board would survive. And that Paul would go on to his destination in Rome where he would appear before the Roman emperor to bear witness to Jesus and the Gospel (as earlier promised by the Lord in Acts 23:11).  As Paul shared this heaven-sent message with his storm-weary shipmates, he urged them, "Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me." Be careful to note that at the very moment Paul speaks these confident words of faith and trust in God, the storm is still raging, the boat is still being tossed, and the way to Rome still looks rough indeed! The storm all but destroyed the ship and had drowned hope of surviving out of almost everyone on board. But one thing has proven able to withstand the storm's fury and ferocity — the faith in Paul's Christ-loving and God-fearing heart.

What value is there in being beat on and blown around by a storm that just won't go away? What profit is there in a painful problem that goes on and on? Storms can be tough to survive, but they can serve to blow in even more valuable things than they blow away. Fanner Brown asked his neighbor Fanner Jones, "Did you lose much in that last tornado?" Farmer Jones replied, "Lost the henhouse and all the chickens. But that's okay 'cause I ended up with three new cows and a pick-up." James 1:2-4 reveals that the trials of life can help to perfect our faith if we persevere through them. Muscles are made stronger only when they are strained, and faith is the same way. By reading 1st Peter 1:6-9 we are reminded that faith, like gold, must undergo some fire if it is to be purified. Peter is honest enough to tell us that trials may "grieve" (distress) us, at least "for a little while." But he also declares that faith is "much more precious tha a gold that perishes." Why? Because, if it proves genuine when "tested by fire," it will "be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Then you receive "the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls."

Are you in a storm that won't go away? Paul was, but he proved unsinkable! Not because of his own strength, but because of his unshakeable and unsinkable faith in Almighty God. Paul's faith outlasted a long-lasting and furious storm. Faith can't make your storms go or stay away, but it can sustain you through them. To keep from sinking in the storms of life, keep faith in God. He is unsinkable!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ