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Faith in the Storm

Devotions

During a violent storm at sea, the 18th-century evangelist John Wesley experienced a crisis of faith. While everyone around him seemed terrified, a band of believers known as Moravians were untroubled. While others screamed, they sang hymns. Wesley, who was already a preacher and considered himself a Christian, realized that they possessed a type of faith that he didn’t. Two years later, he read Martin Luther’s preface to the book of Romans. That night Wesley wrote in his journal, “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ alone for salvation.”

Paul’s journey to Rome was also interrupted by a terrible storm. The centurion who had custody over Paul and the other prisoners who sailed with him unwisely decided to travel on from Fair Havens despite unfavorable sailing conditions (vv. 9–12). The apostle’s warning in verse 10 was probably his own judgment based on current conditions.

However, when the weather proved to be as treacherous as Paul had suspected, God sent an angel who reassured Paul that he must stand trial before Caesar. The angel also told Paul that God had graciously given him all the lives of those who sailed with him (v. 24). Paul’s confidence that God would keep His promise helped him encourage the frightened sailors. But when the ship ran aground, the soldiers determined to kill all the prisoners to prevent them from escaping (v. 42). The centurion’s intervention kept the soldiers from carrying out their plan. Everyone reached shore with no loss of life.

>> Notice that God did not keep Paul from going through the storm or even from the consequences of other people’s bad decisions. However, He did preserve Paul so that he would be able to fulfill God’s purpose. What storm are you facing today? Look to God to carry you through.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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