The wind howled and screamed. The rain poured down. Waves pounded against the ship. And the ship rocked and tipped dangerously. All the people on board were certain the boat would sink and they would all drown. All but Paul, that is.
Paul stood before the people. “Last night my God sent an angel to me,” he shouted over the storm. “ ‘Do not be afraid,’ the angel said. ‘God will save you and all the people sailing with you.’ ”
“I trust in God,” Paul declared. “Everything will happen as His angel told me. But we will crash on an island.”
On the fourteenth night of the storm the sailors sensed that the ship was near land. They threw their anchors overboard, hoping that would keep the ship from running into the rocky shore. As everyone waited anxiously for daylight, Paul said, “You have not eaten in all these days! Please eat something! You will need your strength. Remember, we will all be saved!” Then Paul began to eat, so everyone ate, and they felt better.
When daylight finally came, the sailors tried to steer the ship to the shore, but it ran into the ground and got stuck. Then huge pounding waves broke the boat apart.
Some people swam to shore. Others clung to pieces of wood that had broken off the boat, and paddled toward the beach. All 276 people from the ship reached the shore safely.
Many of the friendly people who lived on the island built big fires on the beach to warm the survivors. While Paul helped gather wood for the fire, a poisonous snake, called a viper, bit his arm. Paul quickly shook his arm, and the snake fell into the fire. The people were sure Paul would die, but nothing happened. God was taking care of him.
Publius, the chief ruler of the island, invited Paul and some others to his house and cared for their needs. During the three days he stayed with Publius, Paul learned that Publius’s father was very sick. Paul laid his hands on him and asked God to heal him, and Publius’s father was healed.
The news of the healing flashed around the island, and people brought their sick to Paul. Paul prayed for each sick person, and the Lord healed every one of them.
The friendly people who lived on the island of Malta blessed the shipwrecked travelers by taking care of them. And God blessed the people of Malta, who were really serving Him when they showed kindness to the travelers.
We can show kindness to others too. We can serve God every day by helping people in need and by praying for them.