I just finished reading Acts this morning in my new office at home. It is more peaceful there than at the kitchen table when I’m done with my reading in the morning. I could spend some more time pondering it.
Paul made the most of unexpected opportunities to preach the gospel. Chapter 27 is the storm and shipwreck. They endured a 2-week long storm that blew them off course to Malta. They didn’t expect to be there. The captain was not a wise man, and didn’t listen to advice. He put everyone’s life in danger.
Thankfully, for them, Paul was on board too. God preserved them because of Paul. I am reminded of Lot’s family (and Noah’s) who were preserved from judgment because they were with him. That is, until Lot’s wife looked back. Of course, it may have been better if the daughters had too. Bad stuff, that.
But God spared the whole crew, the soldiers and the other prisoners (and any other passengers). He encouraged them through Paul so they did not lose heart.
It was because of the shipwreck, however, that they ended up on Malta and Paul ended up making Christ known on Malta. Paul could have complained about being shipwrecked and not making it to Rome. I tend to get frustrated by the unexpected. I wouldn’t make a good missionary, or apostle.
Paul trusted the Father, and made good use of this unexpected opportunity. We have no idea when the gospel would have come to Malta had Paul not been stranded there. But this was no accident. He was sent there by God’s providence that some of the people of Malta would believe the gospel and begin building the church there. God met them in their weakness, for it was begun my Paul healing many of their illnesses.
God kept His promise of getting Paul safely to Rome. It just wasn’t on Paul’s time table. God will be faithful to us. He will accomplish His purposes for us and in us. We have to remember that it is not going to be how we expect or demand that it be. But along the way, the unexpected path, we will have the opportunity to make Christ and His saving work known to people that may have never heard otherwise.