Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food – you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. (verses 33-36)
Here we see the power of a faith-filled individual to inspire and redirect others.
This boatload of 276 people has been storm-ravaged for two weeks straight, without a break and without a glimpse of hope. The only slight glimmer came when Paul told of a remarkable encounter with an angel of the Lord, assuring him that everyone on the ship would be preserved safe. That was good news, even if they struggled to believe. Paul’s confidence had sparked hope – briefly. But the storm had run unabated since. Waves continued to crash over the ship’s sides. No one had appetite for food, sleep came only in fitful snatches, and tension tightened.
Now land was in sight, through the crashing waves, but there was the very real fear the boat itself would be dashed on jagged rocks. Anchors were dropped, giving some reprieve, but soldiers and sailors and passengers all were frantic for any means of escape.
In the midst, Paul speaks out once more. I imagine his voice sounded over wind and waves with an echo of peace. “I urge you to take some food … Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” He then took his own advice, broke bread, gave God thanks, and ate his fill. The others, encouraged beyond their circumstance, did the same. The storm continued, but faith inspired.
I think of the disciples, storm-tossed on Galilee, frantic with fear, crying out to the Lord asleep in the stern of the boat. Wakened, he looked at wind and waves and spoke the commanding words, “Peace be still.” And it was.
Paul wasn’t there on that occasion. He’d been drawn into the Lord’s boat since. But now, he himself is the messenger of peace, speaking words of faith that settle the inner storm, even as the outer one continued to rage.
We, too, can be messengers of peace, speaking out faith that has filled our own hearts. So listen to the Scriptures. Be attentive to the Spirt. Embrace what you hear. Speak words of salvation. Declare the Lord’s peace. Proclaim his comfort. Allow faith to make you confident, and be a channel of his blessing to others.
Lord, make me a channel of your peace, Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope Where there is darkness only light And where there’s sadness ever joy. In Jesus’ name.
Reflect: Where might the Lord use you today to bring his words of peace? What scripture could you embrace to build faith for the circumstance? How can you share that faith with others? Pray. Commit it to the Lord.