What to Do When Euroclydon Blows (with research tips following)
Acts 27:13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete. (14) But, not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon….(20) When neither sun nor stars in many days appeared..all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
The medieval metaphor of the “wheel of fortune” referred to something similar to a Ferris wheel–where when you are on top, without warning you can be slung to the bottom, and when on the bottom, if you hang on, you will be carried to the top. Another metaphor for the changes in fortune, I think better approaches the way misfortune actually feels: a storm.
So, when Paul, as a prisoner facing possible execution (but who had done nothing worthy of death), was being transported to court; the wind changed from “soft” to “tempestuous.” What Paul did next could be a clue to what healthy people may best do when they meet their own tempest, Euroclydon: he fasted. After many days of a storm where he could see neither sun nor stars, I think he felt the way I have felt when tragedy seems to have found me and my greatest hopes seem dashed.
Those who have not felt a tempest that went so long that “all hope that we should be saved was taken away,” those who have not felt a personal storm like that just haven’t lived long enough. So, since the storm is coming, it may be useful to notice what Paul did: he fasted.
He did not get drunk.
He did not get electric shock therapy.
He did not see a therapist.
He did not go to the drug store.
He quit eating–for 14 days.
Then, an “angel” came to him and told him what to do and that all would be OK. They cut the lifeboats away, and the wind blew them to safety. The same wind that they feared would destroy them, that wind, blew him and his 276 fellow passengers to Melita where they were greeted by a warm fire kindled by the people who lived there.
I have felt that too! The same wind that seems to be about to destroy me, takes me to a place of kindness and warmth–a better place than where I started.
Throughout the Bible, the prophets quit eating when facing troubles. When asked why his disciples did not fast, Christ answered that they did not fast because He was with them and all was good; but, the day would come when they would fast.
Fasting stills both mind and body and brings focus. Here are a few notes from the research…
Anxious depression creates a higher chance of suicide and is more difficult to treat [Choi2020]. So, if you find yourself in a Euroclydon, relieving anxiety is a good thing, even if you still feel sad.
Just fasting from meat can decrease depression and anxiety [Spanaki2021].
And, in one study in mice, just a 24-hour complete fast caused a decrease in anxiety and an increase in memory: so 24-hour fast resulted in the mice being less anxious and smarter–not a bad thing when caught in a storm.
So even if an angel does not show up (but one may), still, fasting could be a good thing to do when caught in your next emotional storm. Of course, fasting could be dangerous if you suffer from diabetes, anorexia nervosa, or some other conditions; so, talk with your doctor. But, if you are able, fasting could offer you the help of both angels and your best physiology as you pass through your next tempest.
1.TowersAE, Oelschlager ML, Patel J, Gainey SJ, McCusker R, Freund GG. Acute fasting inhibits central caspase-1 activity reducing anxiety-like behavior and increasing novel object and object location recognition. Metabolism. 2017;71:70-82. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2017.03.0052.Choi KW, Kim YK, Jeon HJ. Comorbid Anxiety and Depression: Clinical and Conceptual Consideration and Transdiagnostic Treatment. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2020;1191:219-235. doi:10.1007/978-981-32-9705-0_143.Spanaki C, Rodopaios NE, Koulouri A, et al. The Christian Orthodox Church Fasting Diet Is Associated with Lower Levels of Depression and Anxiety and a Better Cognitive Performance in Middle Life. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):627. doi:10.3390/nu13020627
When you find yourself in a storm, eat less and pray more.
Print this lesson to carry; printed stays in your eye, what lives on your device goes dark. Then mark the following as you complete each part of the 1-3-5 plan.
For the virtue, simply do your best to live according to the maxim. Think only of this day (not yesterday or tomorrow). If you live today to the highest truth you know (in a most sincere but always imperfect way), tomorrow will be better because of it:
Read: Acts 25-28 ( )
Virtue: Chastity–Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
Walk 3 miles ( )
Eat 5 fruits or vegetables ( )
Charles Runels, MD