Submission to the voice of the Holy Spirit saved the life of the apostle Paul and his shipboard companions while he was sailing to Rome to appeal to Caesar. Despite Paul’s admonition and warning, it was determined that the ship could reach the next scheduled port without difficulty. Readying the ship, the crew hoisted the sails on the first sunny day. Several hours after leaving port—at the point of no return—a storm overtook the ship. Unable to turn back to the port at Fair Havens, the craft and its terrified crew were left to be battered by the angry waves. It would have been well within Paul’s right to toss out a hearty “I told you so!” Instead, he did the one thing he knew would help the situation: He began to fast and pray.
The crew slaved to save the craft, tossing out everything that could be safely spared in an attempt to lighten the ship. And then they waited, fearing each moment might be their last as the battered vessel wallowed from wave to trough through the dark, stormy night. Hour after hour, the darkness blanketed the hopeless travelers as the storm raged. Paul told them what he had heard from God—that all those on the ship would be spared.
When the ship began to break apart from the pounding waves, the centurion ordered everyone that could swim into the sea and admonished those who could not to cling to pieces of flotsam from the ship in order to reach shore. When all were gathered on the sandy beach, not a single person had been lost. The 276 passengers huddled against the cold wind. The order was given to gather wood for a fire, so the islanders who had greeted them set off to find dry kindling. As Paul gathered a bundle of sticks to feed the flames, a deadly viper hidden amid the firewood latched on to Paul’s hand, but he was not sickened at all.
Paul’s submission to Jehovah and his determination to deliver the Word he had received during the voyage gave him favor with the ruler of the island, a man named Publius. After hearing the story of the snakebite, Publius invited Paul and his friends (Luke the physician, and Aristarchus) to his home, where he entertained them for three days. While there, Paul learned that the father of their host was sick with a fever. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to present the good news of Jesus Christ, Paul prayed for the ill man, and he was healed. Paul was able to share the gospel with those who gathered until the time came to set sail for Rome. Submission to the Father produces favor with man and can bring souls to the kingdom of God. Favor with man opens doors that may otherwise be closed and locked. Favor is God’s will for the Believer…and it is His will for your life today!