Scripture: Acts 27:9-26
Key verse: (25) “So keep up your courage, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.”
Reflection: Did you see the movie, “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”? Released in 2011, it tells the story of seven British retirees who respond to an online ad and travel to Jaipur, India, where they find a run-down hotel run by Sonny, a young, exuberant, and optimistic host. Suffice to say, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel does not exactly live up to the advertising hype. The hotel is literally falling apart and it desperately needs an investor to bail it out of trouble. As particular problems facing each of the travelers are brought to light, Sonny offers them counsel that usually includes a wonderful phrase: “Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.”
In today’s reading from Acts, Paul seems to offer similar counsel. He is being transported to Rome for a trial before Caesar. On the way, they have encountered fierce winds that threaten their very lives. Facing shipwreck, Paul delivers something of an “I-told-you-so” speech. Then he offers his counsel. “We’re going to lose this ship,” he says, “but not our lives.” How does he know this? Because a messenger of God has told him he will stand before the emperor, so he knows they will not die. He knows the end of the story, and the end of the story is not their death by shipwreck.
Faith teaches us to trust God with the end of our stories. The Bible ends with the vision of the New Jerusalem, a new creation where mourning and crying and pain are no more, a world where sorrow and poverty and death are no more. This is the end of our story. As a friend of mine once summarized Revelation, “It means God’s going to win.” Some days that’s hard to imagine in our world. Some days the challenges we face leave us feeling like we’re in a raging storm about to lose everything. What would it mean to believe that everything will be all right in the end, and that if it is not all right, it is not yet the end? What would it mean to trust that whatever tomorrow holds, we can be sure God holds our tomorrows? What would it mean to trust God with that, no matter what?
Given God’s amazing love for us revealed in Jesus Christ, I believe God can be trusted. Together, let us keep up our courage!
Prayer: Give us faith to trust that whatever tomorrow holds, you hold our tomorrows, O Lord. You are worthy of such trust, because you have shown your amazing love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Author: Joe Clifford
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].