So, when a light wind sprang up from the south, thinking that they had found their opportunity, they weighed anchor and kept along the coast of Crete, close in shore. But shortly afterwards a hurricane came down on us off the land–a north-easter, as it is called. The ship was caught by it and was unable to keep her head to the wind, so we had to give way and let her drive before it. Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we only just managed to secure the ship’s boat, And, after hoisting it on board, the men frapped the ship. But, afraid of being driven on to the Syrtis Sands, they lowered the yard, and then drifted. So violently were we tossed about by the storm, that the next day they began throwing the cargo overboard, And, on the following day, threw out the ship’s tackle with their own hands. As neither sun nor stars were visible for several days, and, as the gale still continued severe, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. (Acts 27:13-20)
In the ancient world, ships were built with long cables that extended from one end of the vessel to the other. In times of storm, these would be tightened so that the ship would hold together until the storm passed, when they would be loosened and the ship could sail normally. That is described as “frapping” (the correct term) in the passage above, and on board was their prisoner—the Apostle Paul.
Too many people sail the sea lanes of life with no idea of preparing for the storms that will come, or even avoiding them, as Paul tried to do before they set sail. But come they will. The questions that then come up are this: do you have the rigging in your life to hold together during times of trouble? And who is your captain?
It’s so easy to be either self-sufficient or careless about living when times are good. But bad times will wreck both. And that leads to our captain. We say that Jesus Christ is the Lord of our life when we get saved. But do we really mean that? Are we dependent upon him? Do we follow his commands for living? Are we his disciples, having internalized his gospel instead of just giving it lip service? The time to do all of this is now, before the storms of life break up your ship and you find yourself with only a plank to hold on to.