Life is often so frustrating that we can easily forget the truth that the child of God is never along. The last two chapters of the book of Acts so vividly illustrate this. Imagine that you are Paul on his way to Rome to be tried before Nero Caesar. Look at the contrast of the faith he had and how so many would view all that was happening if they had been Paul.
Paul was not alone on the ship.
I am not referring to those Christians who were traveling with him (even though they provided so much of the comfort God provides for His children), but about God’s providential presence in these trying days of Paul’s life.
It would have been so easy for Paul to question God in what was happening. The mockery of the trials he had endured kept him a prisoner in Judah. As far as Roman laws were concerned, the Roman governor, Festus, admitted there were no charges to be brought against Paul (Acts 25:25-26), and King Agrippa said, “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains” (Acts 26:31). Yet, here he was headed to appear before vile Nero.
Look at what was happening on board the ship. Paul could have been put in the charge of any Roman centurion, but he was assigned to the care of Julius. It should not surprise us that Paul found favor in the eyes of the centurion. Paul was not alone on the ship! Though a prisoner, he was given “shore leave” to be with the brethren at Sidon. Luke said, “Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care” (Acts 27:3).
Paul was not alone during the storm. On this voyage to Rome, a violent storm arose and “…all hope that we would be saved was finally given up” (Acts 27:20). Life is so distressing, but at such times, we must remember that Christians are never alone. In the darkness of night, an angel of the Lord appeared to Paul with the message of hope. What we may overlook is that the angel had been with Paul all the time he was on the ship (Heb. 1:13-14). We are never alone.
Paul was not alone when shipwrecked. It should not surprise us that “…the natives showed us unusual kindness…and made us all welcome” (Acts 28:2). It might be worth considering if the presence of God’s children might have something to do with this special treatment. Christians are never alone!
Now, step back from looking at this brief period of Paul’s life and think about God’s presence in your life. God does not keep us from being wronged by others or from “shipwrecks” in our lives. His providence works in another way.
His plan involves this eternal truth—you are never alone!