Faith is a journey. There’s been times when my journey seemed like a series of shipwrecks and snakebites navigating from one place to the next. Maybe for you, too. In Acts 27 and 28, it tells a little of what the apostle Paul experienced while walking (and swimming) his faith journey across land and sea.
It all began way back on his road trip to Damascus when he was stricken blind in order to see. Unveiled to see the God who brings us through storms, wrecks and the snakebites of life. 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! (#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 go to Rome, but he gets re-routed when God says, “No, you need to get to Malta, there’s healing to be done.” It wasn’t an easy path.
What do you do when life breaks apart like a battered ship and you find yourself in the depths of the dark? Like Paul – you swim.
Once ashore on the isle of Malta the people greeted him with kindness and welcomed him on a cold, rainy night. While he was adding brushwood to the fire, a venomous viper came slithering out of the heat and fastened itself onto Paul’s hand. Obviously, he wasn’t much of a snake-handler and shook it off. What came out of the fire and was cast back into the fire.
And then there’s the fickle people in life to shake off . . . at first they thought Paul must be wicked if he survived a shipwreck only to be taken out by a snake, but when he survived they quickly changed their minds and thought he must be one of the gods. The same anointed hand the viper sank its fangs into was used to bring healing to another.
Sometimes God uses the vile things of life to make up our story. When the snake of life latches on, turn it into a testimony and the venom won’t be able to do a thing.
We all want to get to where we set our sails with no dark clouds, battered wrecks, or bite marks but life can sometimes get derailed. Husbands walk out, kids walk out on God, sickness may come to stay, jobs close and pockets get filled only with anxiety. I know.
So what do we do? Just today. Focus on the One who settles the wind and the waves instead of focusing on the wreck. And then tomorrow . . .
And when you get close to the fire and the serpent hangs on – shake it off . . .
Paul went to him, praying and laying hands on him and healed him. After this, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. Acts 28:8
image credit: Brianna Noell