Disrupted plans

Editorial | Wycliffe Today Autumn 2022 |

By Max Sahl

I love the story in the Bible of Paul’s shipwreck (Acts 27:1–28:10).  It is hard to summarise the full account but it has everything: high hopes and gentle winds, then hurricane winds and a violent battering. Cargo is thrown overboard and most of those aboard experience complete despair. The ship runs aground and is smashed to pieces. Paul and his fellow prisoners manage to escape being killed by the sword, and then death by drowning, eventually being washed up on an unknown beach. To put it simply, just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

But the amazing thing in this story is Paul’s response to these completely disrupted plans. He was supposed to be going to Rome to make his defence of the gospel message. Instead, he finds himself on an unknown island a long way from home and with a deadly snake latched onto his hand. It would be very easy to have a bad attitude about these dramatically changed circumstances but Paul serves a God whose thoughts are not our thoughts and whose ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). While on Malta, God uses Paul in amazing ways to influence the chief official of the island with the gospel and to heal many sick people. You get the feeling that this was not an accident. God had a reason for sending Paul there.

In this edition of Wycliffe Today, we celebrate the God who is still God despite disrupted plans. What do you do when COVID-19 shuts down all international travel? What do you do when you think you were headed for Mexico and you end up in Darwin? How do you remain patient on an isolated island when Rome is calling you? I hope from our stories that you will be encouraged to embrace ‘disruption’ and serve your God to the fullest in every situation in which he might place you.


Photo by Alexander Andrews

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