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Seeing God's Hand in the Shipwrecks

(The following is the June 13 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Acts 28 and pay close attention to verses 7-10.)

In 2012 I wrote a blog post titled “Enough Left Turns May Still Get You to the Right Place.” * The post recounted unforeseen and unwanted events in my career that turned out for good. I confess that it was only in hindsight that I saw the positive in many of them.

It is doubtful that the crew of the wrecked ship of Acts 27 viewed their situation as positive. They lost their cargo and ship. They were forced ashore on the island of Malta, where they stayed for three months before resuming their journey. However, God used this detour and delay to bring glory to himself. How? Through Paul’s experience ministering to a leading citizen’s ill father. News spread of God healing the man through Paul, and “the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed” (v. 9). Paul surely preached the gospel of Christ while there. When it came time for Paul and the others to leave, Luke writes, “they gave us what we needed” (v. 10).

Isn’t it like God to take a situation in which we see little or no hope and turn it into an opportunity for him to reveal himself to us and others? Are we surprised that God, who created the universe with a word, can redeem a situation that causes us distress? Yet how often do we feel discouraged, defeated, or hopeless when things don’t go according to our plan? How often must we repeat that pattern before we learn that the Father who loves his children desires to give us nothing less than what he knows is best?

We may have plans and dreams for our lives that get shipwrecked along the way, but such detours may be what we need to land where God wants us. May we accept such unexpected changes and continue to serve Christ faithfully wherever he leads.

Next Step:

What plans did you have for your life that got shipwrecked? How has God worked despite those detours?


* Jeff Ross, “Leap Year Lesson #229: Enough Left Turns May Still Get You to the Right Place,” Next Practices, August 19, 2012,

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