Swim, Or Grab A Plank!

Christ Community Church

Connections Devotional

“Connecting the riches of Christ with the realities of life.”

Acts 27:23-26; 40-44
  23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But  must run aground on some island.”

40 So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. 41 But striking a reef, hey ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. 42 The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, 44 and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.


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I have read this passage countless times over the years.  No doubt you have as well.  A few days ago I was reading it as a part of my “Read through the Bible in 365 Days” devotional.  It struck me as I read it that there is some great encouragement for us in this text, which I had never seen before.

First of all, Paul is given a promise by an angel of God no less, that his life, and the lives of the rest of the men on the ship will be spared.  If you are one of the men on the ship, you’re incredibly glad for the company you keep!  It served God’s purpose to not only spare Paul, but the rest of the men as well.

Secondly, there is going to be chaos, struggle, and some work to do on the part of the men as they make their way towards shore after the boat breaks up.  Some will swim, some will grab a plank from the ship and float ashore.  In all, 276 men will be delivered from the shipwreck as God said would happen.

What struck me about this passage is that God promised they would all be saved, and not a single life would be lost, even though the wreck was devastating to the ship.  I mean, if your flotation device is a piece of the ship you’re sailing on that’s a pretty damaging wreck.  But what God did not promise is that they would not have to do anything, or that it would be easy.  They were going to have to swim, or float, but they were required to do SOMETHING.  All of them were going to get wet.  Life is like that, we are all going to get wet at SOME point. 

If we apply this in our own lives it means while God has given us many promises in the Bible; to be with us, to never leave us nor forsake us, that we should “fear not,” and many others.  It does not mean that we are inactive.  At the very least, we can pray.  But we may have to swim, go to chemo or radiation treatments, take the medication, ask others for help, turn in a job application, have a heart to heart talk with someone close to us, open our mouths to share the Gospel, exercise leadership, or whatever else WE can do. 


You see, in the big picture God’s got it all, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t do anything.  So when you have a “shipwreck” and you hit the water, swim or grab a plank.

Isaiah 41:10 – fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

I hope your time in prayer and Scripture reading is blessing you!  Remember this is not a “check off” item.  Relax and enjoy!


The 5x5x5 is meant to help you intentionally connect with God.

Remember, I want to hear how God is blessing this time.  So as much as you feel comfortable please share what the Lord is doing in you and through you as you intentionally seek him.


Pastor Jeff


5 min a day in prayer
5 min a day in the Word
5 days a week



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