Sunday, October 30, 2022

God Can See You Through the Perfect Storm

 I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost. – Acts 27:22

In October 1991, a freak storm hit the New England coast. Even those who had lived in New England all their lives said it was, hands down, the worst storm they’d ever seen. Three storm systems, including the dreaded nor’easter, suddenly converged over the Atlantic, producing wind gusts up to 120 miles per hour and 30- to 60-foot waves. The locals dubbed it “The Perfect Storm.”

Three weeks earlier, Captain Billy Tyne boarded his fishing trawler, the Andrea Gail, with his crew of five fishermen. They set out for a one-month fishing trip off the shores of Newfoundland, where they knew the fishing was amazing. They hauled in a quarter-million dollars’ worth of fish—but they never saw a penny of it. On their return trip, the Perfect Storm hit, and the Andrea Gail got caught in the middle of it. In Captain Billy’s final radio transmission, he said, “She’s comin’ on boys, and she’s comin’ on strong!” After those fateful words, the radio went dead. To this day, the trawler and its crew have never been recovered.

Well, 1900 years earlier, a similar freak storm swept across the Mediterranean Sea. Just like the Andrea Gail, the ship caught in that storm went down. But miraculously, not a single one of the 276 men on board died. Every one of them made it to shore safely, including the Apostle Paul. God had made him a promise that he would get to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in Rome, and absolutely NOTHING was going to stop God from keeping that promise. Not even The Perfect Storm.

In Acts 27, after appealing to have his case heard by Emperor Nero, Paul was sent to Rome on a ship with his two companions, Dr. Luke and Aristarchus. Other prisoners were on board as well. If all went well, they’d reach Rome in a few weeks, before the bad winter weather came. But the winds changed and forced them to take a detour that added several hundred miles to the trip. When they reached the port city of Myra, they switched to a larger, sturdier ship to take them the rest of the way. But the wind still fought them, so it was October before they reached a small port called Fair Havens. Sailing the Mediterranean was sketchy in October and impossible in November. In Acts 27:10, Paul warned the captain that the voyage would be disastrous if they continued. But Paul was overruled.

The captain decided to sail another 40 miles to a more sheltered harbor, the port city of Phoenix. But in verse 14, “a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster”—like the one in the Perfect Storm—came up. The ship was tossed helplessly for days. The crew “passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together” (v. 17), and soon, they started throwing the cargo overboard … then the ship’s tackle. For two weeks, the ship was battered by the storm. Luke writes in verse 20, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.”

But not Paul. When they had gone days without food, he told the men, “I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed” (v. 22). And he shared a vision he’d had the night before, in which an angel told him: “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you” (v. 24). On the last night of their harrowing voyage, Paul urged everyone to eat to keep up their strength. The next day, they ran the ship aground on a sandy beach—and, just as the angel had promised, no lives were lost.

There are many wonderful lessons we can pull from this amazing chapter. Here are three highlighted by Pastor Warren Wiersbe:

Life Lesson #1: Storms often come when we disobey the will of God, and we sometimes suffer because of the unbelief of others. Paul warned the captain that disaster awaited them if they sailed on from Fair Havens. We don’t know if God had revealed that to him or if it was simply based on Paul’s experience. But Paul clearly had divine insight. That insight was ignored, and all 276 men on board suffered because of that unbelief and disobedience. The same holds true in our families, in our workplaces, in our church and in our nation. Storms come and many people suffer because of the disobedience and unbelief of a few.

Life Lesson #2: Storms have a way of revealing character. It’s easy to trust and serve God when the sun is shining and the seas are calm. It’s much harder to trust and serve Him when our ship is coming apart at the seams. None of us LIKE being scared half to death. None of us enjoy being in the middle of a miserable, painful storm. But that’s where you’ll find out who you really are. Are you a committed follower of Christ, or are you just a fair-weather Christian? Life’s storms will show you AND those around you what you’re made of. Storms will reveal if you’re the real deal.

Life Lesson #3: Storms can give us opportunities to serve others and bear witness to Jesus Christ. Most of the passengers on that ship probably wouldn’t have given Paul the time of day if it had been smooth sailing to Rome. But their ears were wide open to what he had to say in the midst of the storm. The same holds true for you and me during our storms. People listen more carefully to what I say at a funeral than they do at a wedding. And you’ll find that during the worst of storms, people around you will be much more open to you serving them and sharing the hope of Christ. So, let’s not curse our trials. Let’s accept them for what they are: opportunities to grow, serve and bear witness to Jesus Christ. 

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Pastor Dane’s latest book (Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God) is NOW available at Amazon. For more information, visit or

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