A Missionary’s Shipwreck Is Not A Detour

“Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.”

Acts 28:1-2/NIV

In Acts, we read about the Apostle Paul being transported to Rome as a prisoner to meet with Caesar. He had been accused of wrongdoing by Jewish brethren, and as he was a Roman citizen, he desired to plead his innocence before the Roman leader, which was granted. As Paul was spreading the Good News about Jesus Christ, what better and more influential person to meet with than the leader of the most powerful nation at that time. Paul was carrying out God’s plan for him, but before arriving in Rome, a significant detour occurred.

While sailing to Rome, the ship Paul was aboard battled a great storm for many days, and they made landfall on the island of Malta, where they met the islanders who demonstrated unusual kindness. Paul met the “chief official” of the island who welcomed him and his party, and he demonstrated generous hospitality. The chief official’s father was sick and suffering from dysentery, and Paul went to him, prayed, placed his hands upon him, and healed. Other sick people on the island were also brought to Paul, and he healed them as well. Was Paul’s shipwreck a detour or delay with his mission regarding Rome and Caesar? It appears not! Let’s consider further.

The Bible tells us we are given gifts, skills, and talents in life that God intends us to use for His glory while completing the work placed before us to do. While reading Acts 28, at a glance, one could think Paul had experienced a detour and was taken off course. Interesting that upon arrival to Malta, he and his party were greeted with much enthusiasm by gracious hosts. Pretty quickly, Paul healed many people, and I believe Paul was not there by accident. God gifted Paul with the ability to heal people from their physical afflictions, and God had Paul exactly where He needed him. How can this concept apply to us?

God created us with specific skills, talents, and abilities which we should utilize to complete the work He has planned for us. There are times in life when we followers of Jesus Christ are seeking to achieve the mission before us, but we may experience a detour or delay. We may consider a detour or delay occurring, but perhaps God changed our path for a bit for an additional essential mission. When we complete the unanticipated assignment, we will return to the predetermined course and work. In the future, while doing the work God has placed before you to do if a delay or detour occurs, smile and say: “God has me where he wants me, and I will do the work He has placed before me to do!”

Self-reflection consideration: Have I had times in life when I was doing the Lord’s work, and a delay or detour happened, and I was presented with unexpected opportunities to be a blessing to others?

Many blessings to you!