Here’s the question we ask: If God is with me and is using my life for his kingdom, why do so many bad things happen to me? The apostle Paul suffered greatly for the gospel, but he never asked such a question, even when it would seem appropriate to do so, as in this moment:
And now I advise you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship will be lost. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve came to me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! You must stand before Caesar, and God has graciously granted you the safety of all who are sailing with you.’ Therefore keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be just as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island.”
Acts 27:22-26 NET
If the Lord was guiding Paul so that he would appear before Caesar, why did he let the shipwreck occur on the island of Malta? Why didn’t God stop the storm, or send it in another direction? Why did he not make the centurion and the captain of the ship be convinced by Paul’s recommendation to stay put where they were? It’s good and well that God saved the life of all those aboard, but why did he let their lives be risked at all?
Even though we may see some benefits from this bad moment as a consequence, we must confess that such questions have no answer. What can we affirm in such a situation, then?
It can be affirmed that, although God refrains from interfering (from our perspective) in human affairs and in the vicisstudes of life, he works for our good and for the progress of the gospel.
And we may take comfort in the sovereignty of God, for he never forgets his people. Even in the fiercest storms and in the shipwrecks of life, in which all is lost but life — or in which one even dies, he is present, guaranteeing that the most important things will survive.
I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.
But “I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”
Heavenly Father, thank you for your promises that serve as an anchor in the midst of the storm.
Hold this thought: Keep up your courage in the midst of trials, for God guarantees your safety.