It may sound strange, but occasionally the lives of non-Christian bystanders are going to get caught up in the blessings of your Christian life. For example, the 276 prisoners and guards aboard Paul’s boat to Rome may have very well been killed in the storm they encountered.
The fact that they were caught in the storm wasn’t God’s doing, rather it was due to the ignorance of the captain of the ship. He decided to sail further out than he should have at a dangerous time of year. Even Paul (who was not a professional sailor but had been on plenty of boats) knew this was unwise and recommended against the decision. That storm very well could have been the end of the story for the boat and all of its passengers. It’s not like we haven’t heard such tragic tales before.
But that wasn’t where this particular story ended, for on that boat was a man that God had appointed to go to Rome. The free will of the captain had made that more complicated, but God is always able to pave a way through our poor decisions. And so God sent an angel to Paul to declare that despite their hopeless circumstance, Paul would still make it to Rome. Furthermore, God declared that he would spare all the passengers alongside him and that no one would be lost. God’s blessing on Paul was also a blessing to others—even to a boat full of prisoners and criminals.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Acts 27:27-44 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.