Acts 27:21-25 (TPT) “After being without food for a long time, Paul stepped before them all and said, ‘Men, you should have obeyed me and avoided all of this pain and suffering by not leaving Crete. Now listen to me. Don’t be depressed, for no one will perish—only the ship will be lost. For God’s angel visited me last night, the angel of my God, the God I passionately serve. He came and stood in front of me and said, “Don’t be afraid, Paul. You are destined to stand trial before Caesar. And because of God’s favor on you, he has given you the lives of everyone who is sailing with you.” So men, keep up your courage! I know that God will protect you, just as he told me he would.”
Imagine, sitting in this moment - on a boat, completely hopeless, shipwrecked and hungry. Your attention would be divided among many pressing needs: filling your hungry belly, resting your weary mind, tending to your injuries and sickness, finding resources, mending a battered boat, making up for time wasted from getting off course, and bracing yourself for an unknown future. In this passage, Paul offers his fellow passengers a new perspective. He stands before them and encourages them to not “be depressed, for no one will perish--only the ship will be lost.” The ship - their only visible, tangible remnant of hope, and the only thing keeping them from being devoured by the sea - and Paul is telling them it is going to be lost.
What grips me the most is when Paul says, “[God’s angel] came and stood in front of me”. The words of the angel of the Lord elevated his perspective, and then shifted his priority. Paul, with great confidence in the Lord, encourages them to renew their perspective; not to be afraid and to trust that the Lord’s favor was on them whether they saw, felt, believed it or not. He challenged them to fix their eyes on the priority of true Hope, not their manmade liferaft.
When we keep God as our main priority, we choose to see things His way instead of our own. In some seasons, we may feel like Paul - shipwrecked and hopeless, with so many things to carry. And in those seasons, we have an opportunity to do a heart check of where our priority lies. Today, if you feel a bit like a passenger on the ship in Acts 27, I want to encourage you to ask yourself these questions. What’s my priority? Is it following God or my own safety, security, and comfort? Am I fixing my eyes on Jesus, or are my eyes fixed on something else? Pastor Ed often says, “What we look at, we long for.” What are you looking at today?
Jesus, thank you for this season. It may not be what I hoped for, but I am so thankful we are in this together. Today, will you show me where the hope is and remind me of what I do have right in front of me. Help me to fix my eyes on You and to keep You my number one priority. Amen.
Still by Hillsong Worship