Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island. (Acts 27:14)
'Dawazi' or high-wire walking is a traditional stunt with a long history in Xinjiang, China. A Chinese high-wire artist lost his footing as he attempted to walk across a tightrope 100m above the ground with no safety net in August 2011. Strong winds left him desperately clinging on to the 15m long steel wire in front of stunned onlookers in China's Hunan Province. The wire was attached to two hot air balloons which were affected by the winds. After successfully walking across the wire at 30m in just five minutes, he took on the 100m challenge. He failed.
The man failed in his attempt because of strong winds. He must have been disappointed but surely he would try again. Luke, the physician and Paul, the apostle were on a ship, travelling to Rome but as Luke writes in the book of Acts, the winds were against them and they landed in trouble. Deep trouble, in fact. The "northeaster" or "Euroclydon" hit them hard.
We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. (Acts 27:18-20)
They gave up all hope of being saved. They were at their wits end. But God was in their midst during the crisis and saved them in his mercy. None of the people on the ship lost their lives though the ship was destroyed. Paul and Luke were saved miraculously by God.
God is merciful. He saves us just in the nick of time from so many perils. We can sing along with the Psalmist regarding God's mercies in our lives too.
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 89:1)