“For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve.”
These words were spoken by Paul as he stood on the deck of a storm-tossed ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. He was on his final journey. Caught in the rage of a winter’s storm, the Apostle was entering the winter years of his ministry as well. Paul’s faith had found its finest hour. Faith, in its beginning, is but a new born babe. It will need much milk, loving embraces, and tender care. Our new birth is a wonderful blessing albeit wrapped in swaddling clothes, and welcomed with smiles on the faces of its spiritual mid-wives and the angels in heaven. An Apostle’s faith is something more tough than tender. It needs but one smile and one alone. Faith at its greatest is something that has no outward evidence of survival or success. It is surrounded by terrified sailors and broken masts and halyards. It is lost at sea, having gone many days without any sight of heaven, “and neither sun nor stars in many days appear, and no small tempest lay on us, and all hope that we should be saved is then taken away” (Acts 27:20).
Then and only then is faith exposed to the elements and for all the world to see. Only then, after all the false and phony faiths have abandoned ship and deserted us, and we are left alone can we see the God of our Gospel as the God who is there. From Job to Jonah the Bible teaches us that faith is at its finest when it is in the fire or in the sea where we learn that life is either an errand or an error.
Paul may have appeared alone. Real faith always does, but we are told that “the angel of God stood by” him that night. Standing on the deck of a rolling ship is perhaps the hardest place to stand, but that is where faith finds its sea legs. That is where faith is at its best.
Paul was on an errand. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was being carried into the heart of the wolf’s liar and to the very doorstep of the world government which thought it could crucify truth. Pontius Pilate had no idea who it was standing before him in judgment that day. Had he known, he would have cried out along with Thomas and every believer, “My Lord, and my God!” Paul, once too was in error and was an enemy of the cross. That all changed in a moment on the Damascus Road where Paul asked life’s two most important questions. ”Who art thou Lord?” and “What would you have me to do?” It was early said of him that he would bear the name of Christ before the Gentiles, and stand before kings. Now he was on his way to Rome where he had a divine appointment with destiny.
The prophetic words “thou must be brought before Caesar,” (Acts 27:24) were the Apostle’s life assurance policy. Lloyds of London (famous for insuring ships) would do better to invest its money on the one precious piece of cargo found in Paul than all the riches, planks and sails of uncertain Roman galleons and frigates, for nothing can sink the will of God.
A servantship is the unsinkable vessel of God’s volition. It is the center of God’s perfect will for the servant’s life. We do not want to miss this boat.
(For more of study of Servantship click on ship logo above)