Paul is a prisoner aboard a vessel about to suffer shipwreck. All around him are frantic. Even Luke, Paul’s companion documents his hopelessness.
“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” (Acts 27:20
The careful reader will observe that Luke was with Paul on this voyage as the author writes “all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.” Even Luke lost hope.
Bad things do happen to good people. However, that is not a cause for us to lose hope. We recall the three Hebrew boys who were about to be cast into the fiery furnace. They observed that God could deliver them from the fire but they never considered that He might deliver them through the fire. Regardless, their hope was still in God.
The Pessimistic Leader
Every leader finds himself in hopeless circumstances occasionally. From every outward appearance, we cannot see how we can survive. This is the point where some leaders fall into the melancholies. Pastor Pessimist sounds a lot like Thomas who says, “We might as well all go and die with Him” (John 11:16).
Don’t forget how dismayed Aaron was when Moses didn’t come down from the mount (Exodus 32). The disciples lost hope after the crucifixion but before the resurrection. On the road to Emmaus they didn’t say “We trust” but rather “trusted.” They had lost hope.
It is too easy to give up hope. People around you do it all the time. Someone must lead with a vision of what God can do rather than the dismay of what is not working or can go wrong! That someone is you.
Told You So
Paul holds his tongue for a while. He had warned them against this voyage but was unheeded. However, to leaders give sound advice in vain? We all know the frustration of pointing out the truth to not be heeded. We also know how tempting it is to say, “I told you so.” While we may not want to rush into those words, Paul ultimately made his point. They should have listened.
Yet after his patient rebuke, he offered hope. Yes, there were consequences to be had but they were not fatal. There would be great loss but they could still recover.
Stewards of Opportunity
As leaders, we must not give up on others when they fail. Our Lord is the example of being longsuffering and patient. When a person reaps the consequences of not heeding your sound counsel you have an opportunity to further devastate them or to help them. You can write them off or you can give hope to the hopeless. Perhaps they needed this failure to learn to trust your leadership more. You have the responsibility to steward this opportunity as Paul did.