You know those times in life when everything gets super crazy and disorientating. We tend to call those “storms of life.” Usually, they’re quite bad, entailing lots of grief, hardship, and uncertainty. Well in Acts 27, we’re looking at an actual storm at sea with possible deathly consequences.

Sailors at the time had a way of measuring the depth of the water they would find themselves in called “sounding.” They took a line marked in a measurement called fathoms that had a weight on the end of it. They would toss it into the water and when the line ceased to be taut, the markings on the line told them how deep it was. In our chapter of Acts, they took soundings when they thought they were in danger of being smashed on the rocks. They needed to know how bad the situation was, the measurements confirmed it was extremely bad indeed. Shallow, rocky waters.

Everyone on that ship was understandably upset, but Paul had a cool collected air about him even if he was a bit wet. He had the promise of God that he and everyone else on board would make it. In a way, he had taken a sounding of God’s faithfulness and found it to be ‘unfathomable.” Unmeasurable. Very deep and safe! It seems God will prove that he is trustworthy by disproving the trustworthiness of other things we put our faith in. The people on that ship were at wit’s end but survived exactly as the angel of God said they would.

I think this is an invitation to engage in some introspection and find what things we are trusting in that God would be displeased with. What are we trusting in to get us through the next storm? I’ve seen God prove that his faithfulness and love are unfathomably deep while our best efforts can often be shallow and disappointing.

Jonathan Duncan

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