“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.“
I once watched as an Atlantic storm from the North West battered a small boat anchored off some rocks on a North facing shore. The anchor was inadequate and slowly but surely, the poor boat ended up being battered to small pieces on the rocks, disappearing from sight. And after the storm, all that could be found were a few metal items on the seabed and a piece of decking caught between two rocks.
Where are we anchored? Can we withstand the storms of life or will we end up shipwrecked on a reef of worldly cares and struggles? Do you remember the old hymn, “Will Your Anchor Hold”. Anthem for the Boys Brigade and, apparently, the Dollar Academy in Clackmannanshire.
The first verse is,
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?
And the chorus goes like this,
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.
It’s where we need to be, Folks. Let’s sing the hymn together; after three now…
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
The sleet-laden gusts were stirring the tree tops, rocking them back and forth, stripping away any dead wood or unwelcome detritus from the branches that were starkly contrasted against the early morning, rain-filled, clouds. The saplings bent flexibly in the breezes, their root systems immovable. And when the storm had passed they were still standing, just as their Creator had intended.
How are we when the storms of life gust their way through the branches of our souls? When all of sudden, the car needs an expensive repair, or a friend passes away. When the boss suddenly announces that our services are no longer required. Do we sink into a pit of misery, shouting out, “Why me, God?” or do we remain strong and resilient, seeing sunshine after the rain? Thanking God for His grace and mercy. Trust and faith in Him firmly rooting our souls. Remembering that He is an ever-present help in times of trouble. Still standing just as our Creator had intended.
The storm we are currently in will pass. Pandemics don’t last forever. Lockdowns will end. And in the meantime the sun is just below the horizon. Don’t forget, God’s mercies are new every morning.
“But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
Remember Bob Dylan? Well, back in 1979 he released a song called “You Gotta Serve Somebody” and the chorus goes,
“But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well it may be the devil
Or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
As our Western culture becomes increasingly secular – some have even called this age “post-Christian” – it is even more important that we stand up and be counted, living out the counter-cultural teachings of Jesus, opposing the ways of the kingdom of the world, and spreading the good news of His message of hope. In these dark and depressing days of political squabbling and point scoring, of lockdown and depression, of pandemic-induced social instabilities, I’m not going to get sucked into a mindset of serving the wrong “somebody”. As for me and my family – we will serve the Lord! How about you folks?
“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT
So Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh but to no avail – he was having none of their demand that the Israelites should be released from their bondage to take a three day trip into the desert to worship God. And at the end of Exodus 5, Moses had a good old moan to God because his countrymen, the Israelites, didn’t much like Pharaoh’s response either. But in the next chapter, God set out seven “I will…” promises, and He honoured and accomplished every one of them. Promises such as, “I will free you…”, I will rescue you…”, I will redeem you…”
God has made promises to us as well – the Bible is full of them. And He will honour and accomplish every one of them. Here is a couple; Hebrews 13:5b, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Or how about Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Instead of us having a good old moan about the government, or the lockdown, or whatever negative thought takes our fancy, it will be more productive to pick up the Bible, find the promises God has made to us, and then thank Him for them, in faith meditating on them and allowing them to take root in our hearts. We won’t regret it!