Have you ever said, or felt like saying, “I told you so”? Paul did. He’d been taken prisoner and was being transported by ship to Italy when lousy weather blew in (Acts 27:1-20). Knowing that the fall season made weather dangerous for long voyages, he expressed his concerns to the ship’s officers: “Sirs,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on – shipwreck, loss of cargo, injuries, and danger to our lives.” But the officer in charge listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul” (vv.10,11).
What happened? Paul’s predictions came true. The scenario turned nightmarish. “The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. The following day they even threw out the ship’s equipment and anything else they could lay their hands on. The terrible storm raged unabated for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone” (vv. 18-20).
That’s when Paul said, “I told you so. If you’d listened to me, you would have avoided this loss and these injuries.” If I’d been in his place, my words would probably have been tinged with anger. To the listener, they might have sounded more like, “You’re a bunch of idiots. I was right and you know it. Now look at what’s happened!”
Paul may have felt a little angry, too, but he didn’t let it control his response. Instead, he spoke words of encouragement. How could he do this to the very people who’d refused to take his counsel and landed him in this mess? I believe it was because he knew God, understood His sovereignty, and understood that He was responsible for him.
Look at Paul’s words: “Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid…’” (v.23). When our circumstances turn sour, we often forget that God is sovereign. And when other people are involved in making those circumstances miserable against our better judgment, it’s easy to feel annoyed or angry.
If we find ourselves in situations where we’re tempted and even justified to say, “I told you so,” let’s remember that God is sovereign. We belong to Him, and He’s responsible for us. If He allows others to ignore our counsel, as wise as it seems to us, then we need to trust Him and His ways.