Losing Almost Everything

Phil Christman

Read: Acts 27:1-26

But we must run aground on some island. (v. 26)

We can read the story of Paul in Acts as that of a man going from one beating and imprisonment to another. We can also read it as a story of a man going from one vision to another. Through a vision Paul was converted to Christ (Acts 9:1-31), sent to preach in Macedonia (16:9-10), encouraged to continue teaching God’s Word in Corinth (Acts 18:9-10), prepared for this very trip to testify in Rome about Jesus (23:11), and given courage to help everyone survive shipwreck (26:21-25). Paul was often accosted in the course of his work by a vision that strengthened, clarified, or transformed his sense of vocation, most dramatically when he first learned that he had been persecuting the followers of the God he meant to serve, and was converted to faith in Christ. These visions always came to Paul when he was already at work, already trying to obey.

We sometimes confuse God’s providence with freedom from danger. Reality is often closer to Paul’s experience: we lose the ship. We lose mobility, the ability to plan, the semblance of control. We are placed at the mercy of God—which is where we always already were.

Some sort of loss of control, of mobility, comes to us all. When you make the choice, as a Christian, to remember and identify with those in prison, it often comes quickly indeed. May we face it as Paul did. —Phil Christman

Prayer: Lord, when life wrecks us, help us remember that we’re your wrecks.