“Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” – Heb. 11:1, HCSB
This past week our Bible class study was taken from Acts 27, which described Paul’s journey by ship to Rome. Luke tells in great detail of the storm which occurred during the journey, resulting in the loss of ship and cargo but not crew, soldiers or prisoners. As expected under such circumstances, most everyone was in a panic and engaged in a frenzy of activity to survive the storm. What is striking is Paul’s response to the storm. He had attempted to persuade the crew not to start the journey from Crete to Rome before the storm even began. Then, unlike the others, Paul is the calm in the flurry of activity and fear aboard the ship. The prisoner becomes the leader and voice of reason among the chaos. He explains it this way: “For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me, and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar (emphasis mine). And look! God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.’ Therefore, take courage men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me. “ (Acts 27:23-25) Paul didn’t give way to fear because he was told he would make it to Rome. He had no doubt it would happen. God said it through his angel; that settled it. Paul chose to believe it.
What’s important to realize is Paul’s faith was not based on the promise but on the one who made it. He says while writing to Timothy: “But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted me until that day.” (2 Tim. 1:12) Paul’s faith in Christ was based on his relationship with Christ and not on promises or personal righteousness. He knew the One he trusted with his life.
“for me, living is Christ and dying is gain” -Philippians 1:21, HCSB
Oswald Chambers said it this way: When you have a right-standing relationship with God, you have a life of freedom, liberty, and delight; you are God’s will.” This is what Paul understood, and what we need to understand as well. When we submit ourselves completely to Christ and our faith is in him, we have nothing to lose. It makes us bold in living and proclaiming him as Lord. And no “storm” can upset us, because we are in God’s hand.