Faith is a journey. I don’t know about you, but there have been times when my journey seemed like a series of shipwrecks and snake bites. In Acts 27 and 28, it tells a little of what the apostle Paul experienced while walking out (and swimming) his faith journey across land and sea.
I don’t mind storms, even wrecks, but I hate snakes. I scream like a girl when I come across one, especially in my house! (Yes really, read the story in Crumbs Along the Broken Path).
So, if you’re reading along with me in the book of Acts, you see Paul is on his usual mission – he always is – and needs to get to Rome, but God says, “No, you need to get to Malta” . . . there’s healing to be done.
So, what do you do when ships wreck wide apart and you’re pitched into the dark of the depth? Like Paul, swim.
Once ashore on the isle of Malta, the people greeted him with kindness and welcomed him with a fire on a cold, rainy night. While adding brushwood, a venomous viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on Paul’s hand. Obviously, he was not a snake-handler. He shook it off. It came out of the fire and was cast back into the fire.
Ah, how fickle people shift opinions – they thought Paul must be wicked if he survived a shipwreck only to be taken out by a snake. When he survived, they changed their minds and thought he must be one of the gods.
He shook off the cynics and the enemy-serpent.
The same flesh the viper sank its fangs into was used to bring healing to another.
Paul went to him, praying and laying hands on him, he healed him. After this, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. Acts 28:8
Sometimes God uses the vile things of life to make up our story. When the snake of life latched on to me, the testimony came out. The venom could do nothing.
I know, we all want to get to where we’re going with no dark clouds, battered wrecks, or bite marks, but life happens and sometimes it gets de-railed. Husbands (or wives) run out, kids aren’t walking with God, sickness comes to stay, jobs close, pockets empty and are only filled with anxiety.
So, what do we do? Just today, focus on the One who settles the wind and the waves instead of the wreck.
And when we get close to the fire and the serpent hangs on – shake it off.