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.”
Some people say that trusting in God is fatalistic. That isn’t the picture we have in Acts 27:27-32. The people aboard the ship with Paul are certainly in trouble. They have no reasonable means of escape. Yet Paul has brought them the promise that all will be well. What are they to do? Shrug their shoulders and sing happy songs?
The sailors continue working the ship. They are navigating to the best of their ability, though they have terrible visibility and don’t know exactly where they are. They are taking soundings through the night. Because it seems the sea is shallower they try to slow the progress and stabilize the ship. Some of the sailors also try to arrange a way they can escape when the ship sinks.
When our lives are driven by the waves in God’s providence and we aren’t sure where we are going to land, our trusting reaction is to keep doing what we can. We try to anticipate the shipwreck and work to minimize the damage. We pray the Lord will keep us out of danger, but we know it is altogether possible we will be washed up on shore with no apparent supplies. We use the resources the Lord has provided as well as we can. We keep praying, and we remain alert. This also is within God’s providence. There’s no fatalism there, just trust.
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