Acts 27:1-2, 14-20
1 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band. 2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. 14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. 15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. 16 And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: 17 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. 18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; 19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. 20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
There are times when it seems like life has dealt you a death blow, and there is no reason to go on any more. There are times when it seems as though your world has turned upside down and you have been forgotten by the very God you have put your trust in so many times. Look up friend, God is faithful and will not leave you in your hour of need.
1. The reality is hope can be fleeting
a. Paul was a man of great faith, but he was also a man. He was just like any of us who have faced trials and temptations. He knew what it was like to come against some pretty terrifying odds. Paul faced down the Pharisees and Sadducees, was beaten numerous times, stoned, left for dead, mocked, ridiculed, and yet, he was personally chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ for a perilous mission.
b. Paul would later write some of the most important scriptures in the Bible, and would teach generations of people how to have a personal relationship with the Christ of God – Jesus Christ. Here’s a man who fought with the beasts at Ephesus – wild men. Even the Apostle Paul came face to face with the reality that hope can sometimes flee away.
c. This is the same Paul that wrote:
Romans 8:24-25 (KJV) For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
Romans 15:13 (KJV) Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
1 Cor. 9:10 (KJV) Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
Hebrews 6:18-19 (KJV) That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
2. When hope leaves, what do you do?
You have the option of doing several things when faced with a situation like Paul found himself in. Many of you in this room today have faced a similar situation and are possibly going through one now. When faced with a terror such as Paul faced, we have a tendency to panic and lose our sense of direction. It’s possible some of you in this room today have just about given up and have lost all hope; you have no hope and nothing can comfort you. Let me encourage you to look up to heaven and put your trust in the God of glory who will never leave you or forsake you. Here are three choices:
You can completely give up. You can tell God and everyone else you’ve had enough.
You can complain about your situation and turn all your attention on yourselves instead of reaching out to God. You have the ability to do as the children of Israel did as they left Egypt’s bondage. All they could do was complain and murmur about every little thing that came along.
You can take hold of the situation and do something positive about it.
HOW DO I DO THAT?
Remember your calling. Look at Acts 23:11 “And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” God didn’t call you to let you live without hope. God didn’t call you to let you rot by the wayside. God didn’t call you to leave you without comfort and the power of the Holy Ghost. God pulled you out of the miry clay and put your feet on solid ground in order for you to fulfill His will for your life.
You can believe God. (Verses 23-24)Paul was visited by an angel of God and found encouragement. He told all the men on the ship that God was with them all and that there would be no loss of life, but the ship would be destroyed. Many people could save themselves heartache after heartache if they would only believe God. Many healings and miracles would visit the church if only men would believe.
You must abide in the boat. (Verse 31) Paul spoke plainly about staying in the safety of the boat. The implication is simple: stay in the boat and you will be safe; get out of the boat and you will lose your life.