Contrary Winds

Contrary Winds

“….because the winds were contrary…”

READ: Acts 27:1-44 (Key, vv.1-5, 39-44)


If the book of Acts had a soundtrack, at the beginning of chapter 27 the music would start off slowly and ominously, like the music from Jaws…da dum, da dum, da dum. Then in the background the music would build as you hear the wind beginning to blow and the roar from the crashing waves, maybe like the scene from the Titanic when the ship hits the iceberg.    

Then as the “northeastern” hits full force, like in the Perfect Storm, the waves crash against the hull as the crew screams and the captain shouts orders. The music plummets as the tension mounts and all hope of survival is gone. Then the music reaches a pinnacle as the ship is broken into pieces. 

Make no mistake about it! Acts 27 is not an ancient story about a shipwreck when 276 humans faced death, but the impartation of divine truth about how God is in control of the winds in life, even those we encounter on a mission trip. Recently on a mission to Africa, we experienced great difficulty in our travel itinerary. A journey that should have taken thirty hours took three days! Like Paul, we arrive “with difficulty.” (verse 7)

In life and on Mission Encounters, there are storms, adversity, difficulty. There will be times in which when the winds are against you (v.4) and will not allow you to hold your course (v.7). Luke declared, “The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.” (v.15)

Please remember that Paul was sailing on a Roman ship, guided by the sovereign hand of God, on his way to Rome to share the gospel. He was in God’s perfect will, not a Jonah on the run, yet the apostle was traveling under arrest as a prisoner of Rome. He was destined to occupy a Roman prison where he would await the opportunity to have an audience before Caesar.

Acts 27 begins with calm waters but ends with everyone floating on pieces of a broken ship. In the very middle of the chapter there is a very ominous verse: “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up hope of being saved.” (v. 20) The poet declared, “Hope springs eternal!” He was wrong! Sometimes when the night gets dark and the storm rages, we are tempted to give up, even on hope.

However, amid these dire circumstances, Paul experienced His presence in the storm in a powerful way, “For this very night there stood by my side an angel of God." (v.23) Paul was encouraged by a positive message according to verse 24, "And the angel said, ‘Do not be frightened Paul, it is necessary for you to stand before Caesar’.” Paul rested in the purpose of God for his life and this enabled him to face the storm that now threatened to kill him. Settle this truth forever in your mind. God may design or allow storms to enter your life but they will always serve His purpose even if you end up floating on a plank! 

Storms often tempt us to become unanchored but the promises of God never yield to storms. The promise of God came to Paul, "But take courage, none of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down." (v.23) In times of storm, you may lose cargo you once thought was valuable. You may lose your ship and you may even become hungry and wet, but you can make it to shore on the promises of God!

A poet wrote: “No night is so dark to hide His face, No storm is too rough to be calmed by His grace, No wind is so strong to stay His hand; No mountain so great to resist His command.”

When you experience challenges, PRAY. Anything small enough to worry you is large enough to bring before the Lord in prayer. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom, patience and a sweet spirit. TRUST! You may not be able to understand what is happening or discern if this storm is the result of a demonic attack or something God in His providence has engineered to correct or redirect you. You can TRUST Him! OBEY! Paul experienced contrary winds, hunger, and shipwreck but still he obeyed. He made it to Rome because he had a Divine appointment to share the gospel with Caesar.

Don’t be weary or discouraged when the wind is against you. Look to the One who is Faithful and True. Lean upon the One who never fails.