“And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land” (Acts 27:44).
Thus ended one of the most jeopardous and eventful voyages ever made. At times the wind blew softly, and at times it was tempestuous. There were both quicksands and rocks to cause alarm. Neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and for a whole fortnight the men on board had fasted, taking nothing. All hope was taken away. Efforts the most strenuous were made to lighten the ship of any commodity that could be spared. All was done that men could do to weather the storm and reach the haven, but all was in vain. Despair had settled down on crew and passengers alike; resignation to fate was their only condition.
The master and owner of the ship was powerless. The Roman captain, who had command of soldiers and prisoners, and who had placed confidence in that master, was of no use whatever.
All on board were equally impotent, all but one!
Paul was there—an apostle, a servant of God, and a prisoner of man.
As a prisoner he was of no account. But amid the storm he had dealings with that God who holds the seas in the hollow of His fist, and who can still the tempest at His pleasure.
Paul stirred himself up to lay hold of God, not, possibly, so much for his own safety (for to him to “depart and to be with Christ was far better” than smooth seas and plain-sailing here below), but for the sake of “all them that sailed with him.”
In true Christian compassion he thought of them, and nobly did he act the part of an intercessor.
He did not attempt to navigate the ship, for that was outside his province. His business, as a servant of Christ, was primarily in prayer and in seeking the interposition of God’s merciful hand in such a terrible crisis.
He did not pray in vain.
True, the tempest was not stilled, nor were the stormy waves set at rest. The ship was allowed to take her course. That was a small matter; for the only thing of real value on board was the lives of the men. These were secured, The ship was dashed to pieces, but not a life was lost. “They escaped all safe to land” (Acts 27:44).
Oh! the power of intercession! Oh! the duty and the privilege of the child of God to plead in a season of crisis and peril and shipwreck, for the merciful intervention of God.
Paul and Epaphras were, amongst other things, the signal intercessors of the New Testament; Moses and Samuel of the Old, and to these men of God multitudes of others were indebted for help ministered to them by the God of all grace, in answer.
Do we realize the extraordinary privilege and power of intercession? Is it our habit by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to intercede for all?
Today God calls for intercessors. Who of us will stir himself up?
When the stress and the storm are altogether beyond human control, shall not they who know the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ lay before Him their plea for mercy for all who sail, as it were, with them, and thus bring in the delivering power of God for the good of the world at large, and for that of His poor suffering people particularly.
Surely no storm is too great for Him!