In my part of the world (rural Minnesota), we are now over a month into this COVID-19 crisis that has gripped much of the world for even longer.
If you haven’t been paying attention over the past month, then you’ve likely missed some important information.
Because one thing a crisis will reveal to us is where we find our hope and where we place our trust. Things like our emotions, our actions, our reactions, what we talk about most, how we treat people, or what makes us angry all serve as pointers in both good and hard times to where we’ve placed our hope and trust. But these pointers are always amplified during a crisis.
Paul’s journey to Rome as a prisoner recorded in Acts 27 revealed much about where Paul placed his hope and how his faith guided him in the middle of that crisis. His response in that crisis provides us insight into how faith in Christ can guide how we respond in a crisis.
As Paul was taken to Rome, a bad storm blew them off course and out to sea. Acts 27:20 says, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.” The length and severity of the storm led those aboard to abandon hope. Right after it says all hope was abandoned, Paul stood up and shared his hope. He told them about an angel who had appeared to him that same night and said that God promised Paul would yet stand before Caesar and that all with him would be saved.
He said, “I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.” (Acts 27:25)
Trusting that God’s word was certain even in a seemingly uncertain time moved Paul to share his hope.
As the storm raged, Paul encouraged everyone to take time to eat since it had been 14 days since they had last eaten anything (Acts 27:33-34). In the middle of a crisis, instead of focusing only on his own safety and survival, faith moved Paul to meet the needs of others. It says all 276 people on the ship were encouraged by Paul doing this.
In a crisis, faith in Christ can lift our eyes off ourselves to meet the needs of others.
After he encouraged everyone to eat, Paul took bread and gave thanks to God for it in the presence of everyone (Acts 27:35). Are you able to thank God during the middle of a storm? In the middle of this COVID-19 crisis, have you been able to say, “God, I know some things have been taken away from me right now. I know I’m not able to go where I like to go and do what I like to do. But Lord even now I thank you for all that you have given me. And I thank you for all that you are for me.” Are you able to give thanks when others might say you have nothing to be thankful for?
Faith in our sovereign God enables us to thank him even in the middle of a crisis.
May Faith Move You
Therefore, may faith in who God is shape how we live and respond in the middle of this present and any future crisis.
Since he is the “God of hope,” may we share the hope we have in him with those who have no hope. (Romans 15:13)
Since he is a “very present help in trouble,” may we look to help others in a time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Since God works “all things together for good” for those who love him, may we continually thank him even in hard times. (Romans 8:28)