When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. Acts 27:20
The Apostle Paul may have never thought he would be a prisoner, not to mention a full-fledged survivor of a seemingly deadly shipwreck. Paul, along with 300 other passengers, found themselves on an Alexandrian grain freighter sailing on the Mediterranean Sea when they were caught in hurricane force winds that eventually caused the ship to strike a sandbar and fell apart. Every person on the ship swam to safety to the small island of Malta and miraculously survived.
Paul’s initial destination on this voyage was headed to Rome, but God reset his course to Malta. Paul used this “shipwreck” opportunity to witness to the people of Malta. It is interesting to note that to this day, Malta is one of the most religious countries in Europe with approximately 98% of the population considered Christians.
The country of Malta is surrounded by cliffs, so it is interesting that of all the places Paul’s ship could have wrecked was on a sandbar. In the 1960’s divers located 4 “Roman era” anchors near St Thomas Bay in Malta. These anchors were donated to a local museum which people pass every day. Are these anchors from Paul’s shipwreck? We may never know, but those anchors are a true symbol of hope.
We all have an idea of what course we want to take through life. We may want to grow up to be a nurse, a dancer, or we may want to lose 10 lbs, or visit the Grand Canyon. We, like Paul, have set sail through this life on our desired course. We have dropped the anchors and withstood the greatest storms. We may have also hit sandbars in life and fell apart. These “shipwrecks” in our lives can be opportunities to grow and accept change, or we may miss the opportunity and choose to sink in the “harbor of bitterness”.
We may not be happy with where we have “crashed”. We may be visiting a foreign land called Malta. Be like Paul, adapt and flourish. Do not let life’s shipwrecks destroy your joy. Everyday, you have a choice. You can let catastrophes destroy you, or you can choose to rewrite your map and showcase Christ.