My daughter was admitted to an intensive care hospital unit last week.  Despite my best intentions, I found myself getting caught up in a storm of emotions and unanswered questions and I worried about a host of related circumstances.   At one point, a prayer involuntarily escaped from my lips, “Calm the storms, Lord.  Calm the inner and outer storms!”   I often hear people say that we can have peace in the midst of the storms of life. Well, I wasn’t feeling it.

At the same time, I realized I had disconnected from the source of that peace, the One who calms the storms.  This morning my Bible opened to Acts 27.   I read the story of St. Paul’s journey to Rome, the storm and the shipwreck that followed (v.  27:1-28:16).  Despite Paul’s warnings, the sailors took to the seas and charted their own course.  It is interesting that they had to cut their life boat loose.  Signs of security from the material world couldn’t save them. Yet God spared their lives.  Not one was lost.  Only Paul’s faith based on the vision God had given him and his trust in God brought them to a safe harbor where the Malta islanders showed them unusual kindness and hospitality.

For me, this story was a vivid example of what happens when we go our own way, depending on our own knowledge, strength or resources and disregarding the voice of the Spirit. It’s not that I defiantly say, “I am going to do it my way.” Rather, it is an intense desire to get to a resolution of a problem and to get to it “now”!   Sadly, determination that leaves God out of the picture also leaves Him out of the solution.

On the other hand, in this story God's mercy prevailed. The hospitality shown to Paul and the shipped wrecked crew by the chief official of the island perhaps foreshadows the banquet awaiting us in heaven, a time of great rejoicing when all struggles will have ceased and the storms stilled. 

As I thought about this story in Acts, an unexpected thing happened. A peace came over me.  God is good!