Growing up I had one major experience with water – one about which I have absolutely no recollection. My father served in the Army and had been stationed in Germany, so when it was time to return to the States, he, my mom and I boarded a ship for a trans-Atlantic voyage. As I said, I remember nothing about it – I was little over a year old at the time – but I’m told I spent all of my waking hours walking around the deck. So, I guess technically I could brag about walking across the Atlantic.
Since then I’ve ridden on motorboats, houseboats, sailboats and even rowboats, but I’ve never heard the call of the sea. I like Chicken of the Sea tuna, but that’s about it.
I mention all this because, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m hardly an expert about anything related to seaworthy vessels. But one thing I do know: an anchor is a handy tool to have if you’re at sea, whether you’re on a huge cruise boat, fishing boat, or whatever you board that keeps you from dropping directly into the water.
The anchor, as even novices like me know, is a device usually made of heavy metal that keeps a watercraft secured. It can prevent being swept away by severe storms, caught up in strong currents, or drifting too far off shore on relatively calm days while basking in the sun for an hour or two.
We’re living in a world with storms continually gathering, and not just the kind predicted by friendly meteorologists on the local news. These storms take many forms, including social unrest, changes in everything from technology to ideologies, political chaos, and just the turbulence that real life throws at us every day. We hear messages that demand of us, “Believe this…don’t believe that.”
In the Scriptures, we see a vivid image of what it looks like when our worldviews and belief systems are bombarded and we lack an anchor to hold us steady: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:5-7).
Have you ever known someone like this, who could be described as “driven and tossed by the wind”? Perhaps you’ve found yourself wondering at times why, when all the forces around you are shouting to the contrary, you’re still clinging to faith as you do.
There is nothing wrong with occasionally questioning what we believe and why we believe it. I’ve always contended that if God isn’t big enough and strong enough to handle my questions and doubts, He isn’t a God worth believing in. At these moments I’ve always found Him more than sufficient, like an anchor to enable me to ride the waves of fear and uncertainty.
Situations and influences might change mightily around us. What used to be wrong is now said to be right, and what we knew to be right we suddenly find derided as wrong. But we have the promise from Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
This, I’m convinced, is not a fading or fragile hope, but one aptly described in these words from a classic hymn: “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” Through the centuries, followers of Jesus have faced severe opposition, sometimes to the point of death; in some parts of the world that continues today – Christians being martyred because of their unwavering trust in Him.
What enables people to take such a stand, refusing to recant of their devotion to the One who claimed to be “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6)? I think the only explanation is they have found the only anchor that could keep them from being overwhelmed by their circumstances or destroyed by their doubts.
As Hebrews 6:19-20 affirms, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever….”