For the next two days, we are going to dive into Acts Chapter 27. In this second to last chapter of Acts, Paul is on his way to Rome as a prisoner. In his journey to Rome, many storms and obstacles arise. But he refuses to give up his hope in the storm.
“The first stop was to arrive in Italy and the journey there took several stops in different ports because along the way strong winds made it difficult to sail. Then Paul warns them and says, “‘Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.’
But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.” (Acts 27:10-11)
Our life is our own journey, like Paul’s trip to Rome. We have things to do and places to be. And yet, woven in our life’s journey, there are several detours we take because strong winds of life pull us or keep us.
We get married, we have kids, we get fired, we change jobs, or we lose someone. The list can go on. Yet in the middle of our own crazy lives, we are living for Christ. We find hope in the storm. Our surrendered life to Him can entail praying for an hour or more at the abortion clinic, volunteering at our church or parish, or it can mean being vocal about what is happening in our world.
Warning of What Lies Ahead
On his way to his destination, Paul speaks up and shares truth and a warning of what lies ahead — the same way you also have your destination in mind but find yourself participating in 40 Days for Life. As you pray during your hour, whether sitting or kneeling, you are giving a warning and a sign to each of the women walking through the clinic for what is coming.
And yet, like the centurion who chose to not listen to Paul and instead follow the pilot’s advice, we have also had people not listen to our warning. They are blind to the hope we’ve found in the storm.
The world’s decisions and the decisions of people we know personally affect our life. Even though Paul is a servant of God, he was in the same ship as everyone else. Likewise, we are His servants, but we are in the same world.
Hope in a Raging Storm
The story goes on to say that they “took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard… neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging [that they] gave up all hope of being saved.” (Acts 27:18,20)
Abortion is one of many injustices and horrible atrocities that take place in our world. When involved in it, whether in speaking out against it or being a part of it, it can feel like a violent battering in an ongoing storm. Sometimes it feels like there is no hope of winning. It seems to only rage more as the years pass by. Like everyone on the ship, we have felt like giving up all hope in the storm.
The good thing is that the story doesn’t end there because God never fails to show up right on time. For we know that “The Lord is [our] rock and [our] fortress and [our] deliverer. [Our] God, [our] rock in whom [we] take refuge, [our] shield and the horn of [our] salvation, [our] stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2) Amen.
Devotional for Day 10
Intention: Pray for our local pregnancy help centers: for those who answer calls from women considering abortion, those who provide ultrasounds, and those who personally help mothers prepare to parent or place for adoption.
Scripture: Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. —Psalm 82:4
Reflection: When a woman arrives at her local pregnancy help center, the hard work of “rescuing the weak” begins. They listen to her. What desperate circumstance is driving her? They act. A professional ultrasound and medical care is provided. They pray, “God use us.” Then, they take up her burdens and work towards life.It is cross-bearing for the child-bearing. Recently, I prayed for one volunteer who was working with one mother in her struggle. Here is what “rescue the weak” looked like in this one case:
- Aug 3: She made an appointment for Thursday to get an abortion and while she feels terrible about it, she also feels like she has no choice. Pray that her heart is changed!
- Aug 10: She is 12 weeks along but missed her appointment. She had some good conversations with people at the pregnancy center. She is now considering adoption.
- Aug 13: Things are down again. She now has an abortion scheduled for Monday. Pray!
- Aug 17: Missed appointment! God is working in her life.
- Sept 1: We’ve hit another rocky period. She has an abortion scheduled for tomorrow. She found out today that her parents are planning a trip to visit her and she is panicking.
- Sept 15: Missed third appointment. But feels like she has no choice. Please pray today
- Sept 20: She fears her parents but has agreed to another ultrasound (a breakthrough).
- Sept 22: I was there with her for her ultrasound. She saw her baby moving and made the realization that she wants to carry her baby.
Please keep praying against attack by the enemy. We are overwhelmed by seeing God’s hand move in this situation and are so very thankful for the prayers lifted up by each one of you. God is good!
Prayer: Father, we praise you for this one sister who gave herself, heart and soul, to rescue this one mother and baby. O may you empower the hundreds more today who are serving in our pregnancy help centers. Grant those answering calls, providing ultrasound and following up with a bold spirit of truth, love and perseverance.