27:41 But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.
42 And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, 44 and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.
The policy book says that in the event of a shipwreck all prisoners must be killed to prevent their escape.
The policy book says a person caught in adultery must be stoned to death.
The policy book says you forgive a person three times and then they are dead to you.
The policy book says if the person is from Samaria you don't touch them, you don't talk to them, you don't even make eye contact with them.
The policy book says if you are black you sit at the back of the bus. If a white person needs the seat designated for you, you give it to them.
Policies and rules and cultural norms and "understandings" are all around us. They vary from place to place and culture to culture. I am thankful for men and women wise enough, discerning enough, compassionate enough to know when to ignore the rules for a greater purpose.
The centurion put a halt to the policy and let every prisoner go free just to ensure Paul was not killed. It reminds me of a very opposite story. King Herod had every young boy killed in an attempt to make sure he got the one Boy killed.
The centurion was moved by respect, admiration, compassion, even reverence. Herod was moved by hatred, jealousy, insecurity, and rage.
Both broke the rules.
The truth is sometimes rules must be broken in order for the rule to be kept. A stop sign exists to save lives. Emergency vehicles ignore them to save lives. Circumstances change things.
Sometimes we don't understand what God is doing. We can't see why He permits certain things to happen or isn't fixing things as we think He should. This much I know for certain. Everything God does and does not do is motivated by love because He is love. Love is His highest rule. If we could see and understand as He does we would be thrilled by the choices He makes on our behalf and on the behalf of those we love. We wouldn't be thrilled because of the immediate circumstances but by what will ultimately happen when this war against sin and Satan is over.
God has one policy - Love.