Dr. Charles Tindley wrote the song that would become the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.” He also wrote another favorite hymn, “Stand By Me.” One stanza says, “When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea; Thou who rulest wind and water, Stand by me.” It is possible that Paul’s experience on the ship headed for Rome inspired this song. Luke describes the voyage in Acts 27. He says, “When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete. But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength burst across the island and blew us out to sea. The sailors could not turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale. The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.” Dr. Tindley knew that just as a literal raging storm can cause inner turmoil, so unexpected trouble can disturb our spiritual peace. On that raging sea where Paul and others were struggling against the wind and waves, God spoke to Paul. He gave him a word of hope, which he passed on to the others. As with them, so with us — a word from God is what we need when life’s storms are raging. Fortunately, God has already spoken in His word. Our task is to read it and trust what He has said.
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