“Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” Acts 27:23-25
Earlier in the year, I shared a devotion with my second graders from Frogs in Pharaoh’s Bed by Mary Rose Pearson, entitled “Shipwrecked!” This devotion was very timely for many of us and it sparked a lot of further discussion. Within my classroom, I had students who were hurting from a variety of trials… loved ones ill, and in and out of the hospital; family members passing away; separation; the list goes on and on. In my household, my husband had lost his job. The frightening situation that Paul and 275 others found themselves in resonated with us.
“Shipwrecked!” described, in detail, the wooden ships of the time period and the weather condition of this Biblical account. These ships were not terribly sturdy, and the weather was so dangerous that Roman law actually forbade sailing from November through March unless there was an emergency, or a trader was willing to assume responsibility and take a chance. Paul had counseled the Captain to wait, but the advice was not taken and now, as a consequence, everyone was placed in a dangerous situation. Sound familiar? Sometimes the trials we find ourselves in are not of our own doing, but are caused by others or the imperfections of a fallen world. We have absolutely no control and we feel overwhelmed. It’s in the sovereignty of God, His promises, plan, and purpose where we find our refuge and courage … just as Paul did.
As our conversation progressed, we reached an important “ah-ha” moment! God’s promise was that not one person would perish. It was not that He was going to stop the storm or prevent the shipwreck. He certainly could have. Paul and his shipmates became totally lost at sea deep in the midst of a horrific storm and ultimately crashed on the rocks!
My question to the students was “Did God keep His promise to Paul even though bad stuff happened?” “YES,” was the unanimous reply! The promise was: at the end of the trial, everyone … and they did! Sometimes God allows us to go through our shipwrecks for our greater good and that He maybe glorified.
1 Peter 1:6-7 says it all: “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” This, we all agreed, is worth the shipwreck.
Diane Escobar is the Lead Second Grade Teacher at SVC. Armed with God’s spirit, word, calling, and a BA in Child Development from Cal State Northridge, Diane has been changing lives through Christian education for over four decades. She chose to work in a Christian school because of her firm conviction that a Christ-centered education ministers to and develops the whole student — mind, body, soul, and spirit — just as God intended.
Diane just recently become a Gramma for the first time and is embracing the role with great joy. When not visiting her new granddaughter with her family, she loves to read, cook, and explore the arts with her daughter, Pamela, an SVC alumna and current staff member.
You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.