way everyone reached land in safety. (Acts 27:44)
The miraculous story of Paul’s voyage to Rome, with its trials
and triumphs, is a wonderful example of the light and the darkness
through the journey of faith of human life. And the most
remarkable part of the journey is the difficult and narrow places
that are interspersed with God’s extraordinary providence and
It is a common misconception that the Christian’s walk of
faith is strewn with flowers and that when God intervenes in
the lives of His people, He does so in such a wonderful way as
to always lift us out of our difficult surroundings. In actual fact,
however, the real experience is quite the opposite. And the message
of the Bible is one of alternating trials and triumphs in
the lives of “a great cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1), everyone
from Abel to the last martyr.
Paul, more than anyone else, is an example of how much a
child of God can suffer without being defeated or broken in
spirit. Because of his testimony given in Damascus, he was hunted
down by persecutors and forced to flee for his life. Yet we
see no heavenly chariot, amid lightning bolts of fire, coming
to rescue the holy apostle from the hands of his enemies. God
instead worked a simple way of escape for Paul: “His followers
took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an
opening in the wall” (Acts 9:25). Yes, he was in an old clothes
basket, like a bundle of laundry or groceries. The servant of the
Lord Jesus Christ was lowered from a window over the wall of
Damascus, and in a humble way escaped the hatred of his foes.
Later we find him languishing for months in lonely dungeons,
telling of his “sleepless nights and hunger” (2 Cor. 6:5),
of being deserted by friends, and of his brutal, humiliating beatings.
And even after God promised to deliver him, we see him
left for days to toss upon a stormy sea and compelled to protect
a treacherous sailor. And finally, once his deliverance comes,
it is not by way of some heavenly ship sailing from the skies to
rescue this illustrious prisoner. Nor is there an angel who comes
walking on the water to still the raging sea. There is no supernatural
sign at all of surpassing greatness being carried out, for
one man is required to grab a piece of the mast to survive,
another a floating timber, another a small fragment of the shipwreck,
and yet another is forced to swim for his life.
In this account,we also find God’s pattern for our own lives.
It is meant to be good news to those who live in this everyday
world in ordinary surroundings and who face thousands of ordinary
situations, which must be met in completely ordinary ways.
God’s promises and His providence do not lift us from the
world of common sense and everyday trials, for it is through
these very things that our faith is perfected. And it is in this
world that God loves to interweave the golden threads of His
love with the twists and turns of our common, everyday experiences.