Tag Archives: Paul

When Hope is Gone

WHEN HOPE IS GONE

By Carolyn Dale Newell

Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.

Acts 27:20 NKJV

Do you feel like giving up? Can you identify with the men sailing with the Apostle Paul? Paul’s trip to Rome as a prisoner seemed hopeless at times. Hopeless situations are God’s specialty.

First, they set sail during the most dangerous time for a sea voyage. Gentle breezes whipped into Euroclydon, a storm similar to a hurricane. Sometimes life feels calm right before the strongest storms, catching us off guard; however, Fierce winds and crashing waves don’t surprise God.

the Battering winds and waves drove the massive ship into the Syrtis Sands. This area earned the name, the Graveyard of Ships because of its numerous shipwrecks. First, they chose the wrong time to set sail, and now, they had been shoved into the wrong place. A place they never wanted to be. Can you relate? The diagnosis or the catastrophe we desperately wanted to avoid.

The weary travelers tossed everything except essentials overboard in a desperate attempt to lighten the ship. In hopeless times, we become desperate.

Days without sun and nights without stars passed. Unable to see ahead, they feared crashing into the rocky shore. When hope falls short, we see nothing before us but disaster. We must trust God to steer our ships, especially when we lose sight of the horizon.

God sent an angel to encourage Paul, telling him they would all survive. In the midst of our storms, we have God’s promises. His gentle reminders to calm our fears.

Two weeks of stormy seas passed before they saw land. While trying to land the ship, it became lodged in a sandbar, where two seas met. The crashing waves tore it to shreds. Do you ever feel like those sailors, the despair of never catching a break? One storm after another without ample time to surface for air.

The men reached Rome with nothing but their lives. They had survived a hurricane and a shipwreck.

Maybe you have survived a different tragedy. Perhaps your storm still rages on. When we face the impossible, we turn to the God of possibilities. God has not changed. We can rest in His promises. We can trust His guiding hand. The flame of hope continually burns for the child of God. We may emerge from the storm with only our lives, but God will bring us safely through, just like He did for Paul.

Heavenly Father, thank You for including testimonies of Your power in Scripture. They remind us of Your might and strength. They remind us we have hope. You are our hope. No matter how hopeless it seems, no matter what we lose, we are Your beloved children. Work in our lives today. Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Acts 27:9-44.

HIKING THE TRAIL

What can your reminder of hope be? A figurine, a verse or a reminder on your phone. Something that encourages you because Hope never dies.

 

Copyright 2018 Carolyn Dale Newell.

Throwback Thursday: Convinced

CONVINCED

 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord  -Rom. 8:38-39 NASV

What convinced Paul of eternal security in the love of God? God had revealed the gospel to him, but Paul had experienced the power of God throughout his Christian life. He had lived through most of the things listed above. Paul had been beaten, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, hungry, cold, naked, and thirsty (2 Cor. 11:23-28) – just to name a few. He was constantly escaping death. Through all this, Paul learned that God never left his side. He gave him sufficient grace for the trial. He gave him strength when he was weak. Finally, when he was executed, Paul considered death to be gain (Phil. 1:21).

Look back at the darkest times of your life, your most painful memories, and your hardest battles. Those are the times when you will only see one set of footprints, because those were the times God carried you. Those were the times you saw the convincing proof and power of God’s love.

In my own life, I can look back to trials and see God’s hand in them. He has comforted my sorrows. He has walked with me when pain kept me from taking another step. He has enabled me to achieve things that were incredibly difficult.

Paul wrote to Timothy: “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Tim. 1:12b). Thank God today for His convincing love.

Copyright 2013 Carolyn Dale Newell.