”And when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment. 2 So, entering a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia” (Acts 27:1-2).
The above account, gives a prelude to Apostle Paul’s historic journey from Caesarea to Rome. But prior to its commencement, many things happened to him, which I will like us to look into.
Acts chapters 24 to 26, narrates how he was falsely accused and tried by different personalities, including Festus, the then Governor of Caesarea. And at a point, he (Festus), attempted to transfer Paul to Jerusalem for trial however, his real intention was to make it easy for the Jews to kill him thus, pleasing them. But thank goodness that Apostle Paul saw through the governor effortlessly and he blocked him, by appealing to Caesar in Rome for adjudication instead. Apostle Paul‘s historic journey to Rome with others, is narrated in Acts chapters 27 and 28. It mirrors a typical journey through life and it is full of lessons that we ought to be abreast of. We shall now consider some of them.
1. The journey through life is often very difficult
Referring to a part of their journey, Apostle Paul, said: ”When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone” (Acts 27:7).
It is obvious from the passage above, that their journey was not smooth sailing in the least; it was plainly difficult! But most life journeys are like theirs i.e., very difficult and often fraught with obstacles, pain, sorrow, anger, deprivation, confusion, doubt and dashed hopes among several others. Perhaps your journey through life is becoming rather difficult nowadays; please keep your calm for such is common. As a matter of fact, Jesus forewarned us in John 16:33, that such would be our lot. In it, He said:
”These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you willhave tribulation (or difficulty, trial trouble, problem, hardship, misfortune, misery) but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”
Jesus is aware of your present, maybe rather difficult journey in life, and He has already done something about it. It is my firm belief therefore; that it will soon become history and your joy will be full in Jesus name. Amen.
2. We will be ignored from time to time
At a point, Apostle Paul warned his co-travellers of the danger ahead of them if they continued with their journey, but he was ignored (Acts 27:9-12). Likewise, as Christians, preaching the gospel as part of our journey through life, people will ignore us from time to time. It is even possible that they will see us as being mentally deranged, or at best, as being foolish. If this happened to you in the past or it is happening to you right now, or if it happens to you in future, please don’t be disturbed or discouraged because that is not unusual. You are also on the right track! Apostle Paul confirmed this position in 1 Corinthians 1:18 this way: ”For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Whenever you are despised or ignored by anyone on account of your faith, please don’t worry; just remain strong and continue to do the will of God and in due season, He will reward you bountifully (Hebrews 6:10) in Jesus name. Amen.
3. We may be tempted to give up
At a point during their journey, Paul and his mates became so stressed, that they had to give up and he reported this incidence in Acts 27:20 in this manner: ”Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up”.
Similarly, in our journeys through life, many tough situations will arise time and again, that will tempt us to give up on our dreams. We may even be tempted to ditch God altogether and to look for assistance elsewhere. Please, we should never succumb to such temptations! On the other hand, we should constantly remember that tough situations are normal, transient and beneficial after all. Again, Apostle Paul gave credence to this position like this: ”For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”, (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Yes, our dreams may not come to pass as quickly as we may have wished, but the truth is that, they surely will at the end of the day (Habakkuk 2:3). May the good Lord help us never to give up on Him and on the dreams that He gave us in Jesus name. Amen.
4. We must get rid of every unhelpful luggage in our lives to survive our earthly storms
In order to survive the storm that they encountered on the way, the crew of Apostle Paul’s ship lightened their ship (Acts 27:18). That is, they got rid of every unhelpful luggage in their ship to stop it from sinking, and from causing their untimely death.
In the same vein, we must lighten our lives by getting rid of every unhelpful ‘luggage’ in them so as to stay afloat and alive whenever we are hit by the storms of life. Such luggage, according to Apostle Paul, include the following: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness (Colossians 3:5), anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language (Colossians 3:8) etc.
Apostle James was also in league with Apostle Paul on the need for us to get rid of every unhelpful luggage in our lives. In James 1:21, he said: ”Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls”.
Friend, we deserve to stay alive to run our lives unfettered according to the will of God till we exit this world. But for these to happen, one of the things that we must do straightaway is to get rid of every unhelpful luggage in our lives. May the good Lord help us as we do so in Jesus name. Amen.
5. God is willing to help us fulfil our destinies
In the nick of time, God sent reassuring words through His angel to Paul (Acts 27:22-25). And that singular occurrence helped them to renew their interest in living, and in fulfilling their destinies. For instance, Apostle Paul went on to fulfil his destiny of preaching the gospel in many places, and to as many people as he could. And to date, he remains one of the most accomplished; most celebrated and most read Christians that ever lived.
God is also willing to help us to fulfil our destinies in the course of our individual journey through life and He confirmed this in Isaiah 41:13 as follows: ”For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you”. May the good Lord bring to fruition, his promise to help you fulfil your destiny in life in Jesus name. Amen.
As you can see, the journey through life is often very difficult and we certainly need divine help to make a success out of it (John 15:5). But genuine and enduring help can only come from God, through Jesus Christ. That is why we need Him on board our lives and for this to happen, we must be born again. Are you born again? If you are, bravo! But if you are not, please do so without delay. All you need to do, is to invite Jesus Christ into your life by faith, and ask Him to take over as your personal Lord and Saviour and He will (John 6:37). After that, you must be prepared to follow Him and do His biddings for the rest of your life. These might sound very difficult to accomplish, but I can assure you that they are possible, because with God, nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:26). If you satisfy these conditions, then Jesus will help you in your journey through life and reward you beyond measure in heaven as well (Mark 10:29-30). Amen.
Jesus is Lord!
c Adedayo Stoney Adegbulu, 2011