The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In Acts 27:21-26, the apostle Paul does say, ‘I told you so.” It would be hard to resist. He had warned the people not to attempt a voyage. He was concerned that the ship, the cargo, and lives would be lost. The voyage had been terrible to this time. After the people had gone a long time without food, presumably fasting and praying or being simply so frightened the couldn’t eat, Paul encouraged them.
He had received a revelation. It isn’t clear how. “God stood beside me.” We don’t know how this worked, but Paul was confident that the message was from the Lord. The ship and cargo would be lost but the people would survive. They would be shipwrecked on an island.
In Paul’s warning he makes it crystal clear. The message comes from the true God, the one he serves, not some other god. And the words of encouragement are real. The people will survive. They may end up losing all their possessions which are on board, but they will live. This is excellent news, compared to the fear of capsizing in mid sea somewhere.
Even in our times of deepest doubt and discouragement we can know that the Lord is still the merciful God. He doesn’t abandon his people. He can communicate joy and peace to us just as easily as he can stand beside Paul and encourage him. The God of the Bible remains the living and miraculous God. Sometimes God’s work doesn’t result in our health and wealth. But it does strengthen us to eternal life.
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