How God’s mercy was exhibited through Paul
This story about Paul is challenging on several levels.
His reaction to difficult circumstance
Paul knew he had a job to do: witness to Caesar about Jesus Christ. He did not care what difficult circumstances he had to go through to get to Rome. He did not care that he was going as a prisoner, instead of a first-class passenger.
His tenacity in prayer
I love the quiet prayer times my husband and I have in our living room. I love the times we gather for prayer with others. I have even been some all-night prayer meetings. I have never had to pray for two weeks, amidst a terrible storm at sea – and Paul wasn’t even praying for himself – he was praying for the other people on board! Anti-semitism, hating Jewish people just because they are Jewish, is on the rise today, but it is nothing new. Paul was even praying for people who may not have liked him just because of his nationality. I believe that he prayed that everyone on board would have a chance to know Christ and to see God’s glory.
His ability to get on with the job
The passengers and crew all survived the shipwreck. Paul did not stand around to see what would happen – he helped pick up firewood so everyone would be warm. He was willing to help meet the practical needs of others.
His ability to shake off distractions
Paul was attacked by a poisonous snake, but just shook it off into the fire. A snake is a pretty big distraction – but Paul treated it as nothing.
His ability to handle gossip about himself
First the islanders thought he was a murderer. Their opinion changed rapidly when Paul did not die. Then they thought he was a god. The gossip probably served the purpose of bringing Paul to the attention of Publius.
His ability to pray
Paul saw a need that he knew Jesus could handle. He prayed for an older man with a fever and dysentery. Word spread and Paul ended up praying for many people. He brought glory to Jesus with his actions and attitudes.
All these lead me to desire more spiritual growth – so that I too can handle difficult circumstances, can pray even if my own circumstances are stormy and rocky, can do what needs to be done, can shake off distractions, can have a correct reaction to gossip about myself, and can see the needs of others and see them meet in prayer.
Prayer: Lord, I will never be an apostle, but help me grow in all the above areas. I want to be more like you. Amen.