Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Wednesday, April 2

But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.
—Acts 27:11

Sometimes we are just looking the wrong way, listening to the wrong words, giving attention to the wrong place. It's not that we're intending to be contrary. Rather, we are responding to the physical, material reality that is before us. We rarely question the advice of someone who is an expert in a subject unfamiliar to us. For example, if our air conditioner stops running in the middle of a hot, muggy summer, we are more likely to pay attention to the advice of the repair person than we are to the words of a well-intentioned but unknowledgeable layperson. We dismiss the words of the latter, and embrace the words of the former.

They were in a difficult situation at sea, and it seemed to the centurion that the wisdom of the pilot was more convincing than the words of Paul. Paul certainly was a charismatic and persuasive religious leader, but not the captain of a ship. Unfortunately, it was Paul rather than the pilot who had been given a "word of truth" to speak. It was Paul rather than the pilot that spoke the truth of God.

Attention misplaced can leave us in the shadowy space where we miss the word of truth that heaven wants to whisper so gently in our ear. Before we accept the words of the most likely experts as the only truth to be told, we might let our attention drift to the unlikely voice.

It just may be the voice of heaven.

O God, do not let me settle too quickly for the truth, lest I miss the invisible word waiting to be revealed.