Land in view! Life ahead!
Maybe no. Soldiers are on duty to kill- get rid of the prisoners lest they escape.
The crew, mark you, had been ready to jump ship, expecting that prisoners aboard would have been easy fare for the wind and the waves and any sea creatures that found them.
But Paul said no. “Stay put,” was his order; and the centurion complied. Their remaining aboard ensured continuation of life.
Now they’ve tried to save their lives through efforts to run the ship aground, but this human designed machine does not comply. The forces of nature hold sway. They hit rock and the ship is literally mashed up.
This time the centurion tells the prisoners “Go”, and it’s all because of Paul. He wants to save this life; and many other lives are linked to, actually dependent on it. For the sake of this one prisoner, many are set free.
The broken ship becomes part of the salvation plan as its pieces become the surfboards for the non-swimmers among them. Broken pieces are often the stuff that God works with to restore wholeness. All are saved, just as Paul had told them.
How many times to we see the land ahead and anticipate that our schemes will get us to it? or have we felt that because we are so near, we’re truly almost there? And so, we forget to pray the last mile of the way.
How many times might we have considered that only by grace can we make it. We might be ever so near and still far from reaching the goal. Endurance to the end is part of God’s plan, and easier to realise that’s plan with the Master Planner around. Or have we considered that getting there might mean embracing new associates along the way? The security of soldiers and prisoners’ lives was really a package deal from God, as usual surprisingly different to what they had anticipated.
- Lead, kindly Light, amid encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on! Lord,
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
- I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Should’st lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead thou me on.
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
- So long thy power hath blessed me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
John Henry Newman, 1801-90