Moving from Plan A to Plan A+ (Part 3)
In the last blog, we looked at how Paul heard a word from Jesus about his faithfulness during the awful time in Jerusalem, and of his being sent to Rome. Paul went from Plan A to Plan A+--though it was clearly a bumpy ride!
Well, that bumpy ride continued—and God did something remarkable…
Through the unwise decisions of a ship’s captain who didn’t want to listen, God redeemed in a magnificent way! It led to the saving of 276 lives, and a revival on an island that had never heard of the claims of Christ.
You will find this account in Acts 27-28.
Now this text could be made into an action movie.
Paul had appealed to Caesar to avoid getting killed by a band of assassins (how’s that for an action movie plot introduction? It needs swords, spears, soldiers, and assassins whispering in dark, secluded meetings).
A soldier named Julius was put in charge of the voyage. They got onto a ship and found themselves at a place called “Fair Havens” a “not great” harbor. The captain wanted to sail to a better harbor.
Paul “sensed” something. It sounds like the Lord was warning him. He spoke a word of warning to those who were in charge of the trip (here in the action movie, there would need to be heavy foreboding dissonant music):
“Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo, and the ship, but also of our lives.” Acts 27:10 ESV
No one listened to him.
They set sail when the wind seemed fair—yet on the very day, the fair weather turned worse than foul—a “northeaster” of epic proportions descended on the ship (Picture George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in The Perfect Storm).
We would call it a hurricane.
It would last fully 15 days—and in the middle of using all their powers and every trick in the book to spare the ship, all hope was lost… Everyone believed that they were as good as dead.
But Jesus had spoken to Paul two and half years before—that he was to testify to God’s power and grace in Rome… (Here the plot turns from heavy to hope-filled). When all hope was lost, the prisoner Paul rose up to speak. He told them that they should have listened to the warning he was given when they were back at Fair Havens…
Then he indicated that God had changed their failure with Plan A to a magnificent turn-around Plan A+… Let’s listen in…
You should… not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid Paul; you must stand before Caesar.
AND BEHOLD, GOD HAS GRANTED YOU ALL THOSE WHO SAIL WITH YOU.
So, take heart men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island. Acts 27:21b-26 ESV
(Now the underscoring music shifts to dramatic, hopeful, and filled with brass and percussion)
They should have died…
Yet Jesus of Nazareth had personally promised Paul that he was to get to Rome. Because Jesus Himself had promised, somehow, someway, Paul would get there.
But something more had been granted.
God gave Paul a gift—all of the 275 other people on board would have their lives spared! Those allotted to die would live (that would need special music too!).
Read the rest of the narrative, and you will discover another astonishing thing. They landed on the island of Malta… And because they landed there, a great revival broke out on that island.
My hunch? God heard the wrenching, anguished prayers from the tormented sailors on that doomed ship passing through the perfect storm!
My deeper hunch? God heard the anguished pleas of an apostle, on assignment to get to Rome, commissioned by the Risen Lord Himself.
Why the deeper hunch? The text points in this direction!
It sounds like Paul asked God to spare everyone on board. The angel didn’t say, “God is giving everyone a gift!” The angel said “God has granted you [Paul] all those who sail with you…”
Plan A became Plan A+… 275 lives (plus Paul) spared. An island revival that would have never happened unless God intervened.
Was it an easy journey? No. Was it worth it in the end? Yes. A thousand times yes!
When things go wrong, implore the Lord to move you from Plan A to Plan A+.
Ask God for destinies to be altered and a Malta Revival!
If you are in Him, God will move the disaster from a failed plan A to a magnificent A+.
© David Chotka 2020