"And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land." Acts 27: 44b
Luke's account of Paul's storm-battered voyage, and shipwrecked landing is filled with all the drama and the trauma that language can convey. Reading it is like hearing an eye-witness news TV commentator. Luke had a front row seat to all the action, and his words convey the passion of one who had survived it, not just someone who had heard about it.
"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn." - C. S. Lewis
The same word is used to describe the centurion's attempt to protect Paul, as the word used for the safe landing of 276 passengers on the beach. In each case "safely" refers to the experience of being preserved, or the intention to preserve through danger, or to save, to rescue, to cure.
"Safely through" and "safely to" carry a subtle yet profound difference in meaning from the words escape, exit or egress. The clarification is in the preposition. Paul was not taken out of the danger, but he was guided through it.
Note to self: Too many of your prayers are lifted up with the expectation of an escape artist. They are void of the passion of a warrior. Stop looking for a three day pass to avoid the conflict. At least stop digging a more comfortable foxhole. Seek strength for the battle, and victory in it. Don't just face the crisis. With God's grace, go through it.
Luke appeared to be along for the ride. The good doctor was a companion to Paul, not a prisoner guilty of a crime. Any danger he faced was brought about by the guilt of association. He was with Paul, so he had to go through the same storms. It just doesn't seem fair. Life isn't.
Anyone who has ever walked with a spouse, a family member, a friend, or a church through one of the storms of life, knows the terror that accompanies every trial, every tear and every triumph. Those who share the danger are not immune from the pain that often accompanies the crisis.
I recall my father, speaking these words over Dana and myself, at our wedding 37 years ago... "every trial, every tear and every triumph." The reference was to the power of the grace of God to see a couple through the storms of life. Thanks Dad. I was listening. You were right. Where God guides, He provides His grace for the journey.
Praying through a crisis may not end it, but it leads a person safely through it. When Paul and Luke gathered with the survivors of the shipwreck, they stuck the landing. They used their survival as a catalyst for revival on Malta.
Too often the crises of life are seen as inconvenient obstacles to get over. At times they appear as disconnected dangers to get through. In truth they are opportunities to be seized.
Prayer takes hold of a crisis and places it in the hands of God, and gives His Spirit the elbow room to make sense out of it. Prayer encourages those who are in a crisis not to lose heart in the middle of it, but to walk with Jesus through it.
Taking magnifies the crisis, and terrifies those closest to it. Praying magnifies God, and minimizes the crisis. Prayer edifies the followers of Christ, when they hear the name of Jesus being called upon in the middle of a crisis. The same name terrifies the enemies of Christ.
Prayer will see you through, whatever God's Spirit brings to you. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!