Acts 27 can serve as a real life example of what happens when believers remain steadfast in clinging to the leadership of the Holy Spirit along with God’s prophetic word. In that chapter, Paul, accompanied by a handful of fellow Christians, was being shipped to Rome as a prisoner by Roman guards on a ship from Alexandria, Egypt along with other prisoners. Altogether, a total of 276 people were on board.
We can learn several things from Paul’s situation:
● He warned them ahead of time about impending danger ahead and urged them to change their plans. As saints, we are called to lovingly warn people of dangers they face if they stick with their unwise plans.
● The unbelieving Alexandrian ship owner and unbelieving Roman guards dismissed Paul. They displayed the typical attitude of pagans even present today to automatically dismiss the warnings of believers about impending danger, assuming that believers are clueless.
● When the danger he warned about happened, Paul lovingly told them “I told you so,” then gave them an encouraging word in season from God that came because Paul was on God’s mission to witness to Caesar. As part of his pep talk, Paul without shame exclaimed, “…sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” When we accompany unbelievers during a dark, seemingly hopeless situation, if it takes place while we are on a mission from God, he will give us a word in season for ourselves and for the unbelievers around us.
● More than a week passed, so the pagan Alexandrian shipmen doubted Paul’s words and tried to take matters into their own hands, and Paul, steadfast in his faith in God’s word, reiterated God’s message. The centurion, convinced Paul was correct, enforced what Paul said. Sometimes we may have to repeat what God says to unbelievers since they are prone to doubt God. Just because they doubt and want to carry out their own ideas does not mean we should compromise what God tells us. Like Paul, we should stick to God’s message no matter what.
● Paul showed the unbelievers everything would be fine when he encouraged them to eat and joyfully gave a prayer of thanksgiving to God in their presence which gave them a cheerful attitude. Unbelievers need to see in our actions that we really trust what God says in a dark time by gracefully going about our business as if God has already remedied the situation. It can uplift their spirits and show them faith in God has real application to real life situations.
● Even after the uplifting time, the pagan Roman soldiers still doubted Paul’s word and like the pagan Alexandrians, thought to take matters into their own hands by killing the prisoners when it came time to swim to shore. The centurion, thinking of Paul and his message, stopped them. When we remain steadfast in our faith, some unbelievers can become convinced of the importance of what we stand for to the point where it positively changes their attitude and behavior enough for them to act in our favor against unbelievers who would harm us.
● Paul’s message was fulfilled and everyone benefited from it. When we are committed without wavering to what God tells us in dark times, he brings about his promised outcome that benefits his children as well as unbelievers.