In times of dire circumstances, Christians often have a level of protection that is not afforded to unbelievers.
Here in this section of scripture we see that The Lord had promised Paul that not only he, but all of the people on the ship with him, a total of 276 people, would not be lost. The ship and all it's cargo were to be lost, but the lives of all aboard would be preserved.
The protection of The Lord in this case was granted to be extended so that all those aboard would give God the glory for being saved from what would otherwise be a hopeless situation. We see in this case that had this promise not been given by The Lord, the soldiers had planned to kill all of the prisoners, including Paul, and that would not have served the purpose of The Lord.
Bad Things Happen
Does the protection of The Lord mean that bad things will not happen to Christians? By no means! All people on the planet, including Christians will suffer bad things and tough times. Christians will be involved in accidents and be affected by the same things as everyone else.
Indeed as Christians we know that we who follow Jesus Christ will often suffer many things that non-believers do not suffer. We will suffer persecution, separation, hatred and jealousy from non-believers simply because we do believe in and have faith in Jesus Christ. As the scriptures tell us,
12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:12-13)
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:12-14)
But even though we know we will suffer for the sake of our faith, we should also take comfort knowing that in times of trouble we have a protection that is not available to non-believers.
Protection of The Lord
Look at the words Jesus spoke to his disciples when they spoke of the evil practices of the Roman governor and how he had killed some Galileans and offered their blood to the false Roman gods. Note these words in Luke 13:1-5.
1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
As Jesus spoke about this issue and also the disaster at Siloam He makes a strong point. These people died not because they were worse people or greater sinners than anyone else, they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And Jesus also shows the protection of The Lord for His people in these same scriptures as He says that through repentance and turning to God we shall be saved. The protection of The Lord comes upon a person when they come to God because God then looks after His people.
Does that mean these people may not be killed like those at Siloam or have their blood shed in sacrifices or be fed to the lions in the Colosseum as is sometimes depicted? Of course not! If it is the will of The Lord that these people be martyred or sacrificed for their faith then that will happen. But likewise if it is not their time, then The Lord will carry them through the situation and not a hair of their head will be harmed.
The scripture in Luke 21:16-19 shows that even though Christians may be delivered up to death, they will be protected by The Lord.
16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name's sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will be harmed. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.
The Reality of Life
So what we see in all of this is that when it is the will of The Lord to save a person from harm He will do it, but also there may be a need for endurance to hold onto faith to carry us through.
But as Christians we also know that the reality of life is not about what happens in this time, but rather the real life that is to come in the presence of The Lord when His kingdom is established on earth. Even if we do suffer in this age and death comes, we are comforted knowing that those who die in The Lord are not lost but will return with Jesus Christ on His return to live forever with God.
But we know also that until it is the time of our death we have the protection of God to save us from all situations. As an example of the often miraculous ways that The Lord has preserved His people, consider these examples of The Lord's protection for His people.
Daniel in the lions den who was unharmed, but when his opponents were thrown to the lions they were torn apart.
Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego who were thrown into a fiery furnace, superheated to temperatures much higher than normal, which killed the furnace attendants as they approached, but these three men walked amongst the flames with an angel of The Lord and not even their clothes had the smell of smoke upon them.
Lot rescued from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Noah and his family rescued from the flood sent upon the earth to destroy the world. King David rescued from the pursuit of Saul. The apostle Peter released from prison with his chains falling from him and led to freedom by an angel of The Lord. And let us not forget the protection of The Lord for the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness for forty years after leaving Egypt.
Yes the protection of The Lord is a great blessing and gift to his people that is not available to the unbelievers of this world. They have to rely on dumb luck and hope they are not in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that is hardly a strategy for life. Better to seek The Lord and his protection.
You might also like: