How to Avoid Capsizing in the Storm
Global hope is in trouble, and many people operate on the basis of their own “can do” spirit. But when we’re battered by storms, everything depends on the strength of our anchor.
The world anchors its hope in money, success, prestige, education, nationalism, health advances, and positive thinking. Sooner or later, those lines break, and we’re spun around in the waves and capsized. Take the legendary band, The Beach Boys. Despite its runaway success, the group has been haunted by what some commentators call the “curse of the surf.” Of the three Wilson brothers who started the band in 1961, two of them, Carl and Dennis, died young. Dennis dove into the water at a marina and drowned while under the influence of alcohol. Carl died of cancer. The third brother, Brian, ruined his life with drugs. When co–founder Mike Love was asked what single thing had most impacted The Beach Boys, he replied, “Drugs.”1
Our global hope and our personal hope depend on being anchored to Jesus Christ.
Everyone wants to be a celebrity, but few of us consider how fame magnifies all the problems and stresses of life. Read a Who’s Who of the rich and powerful, and you’ll find endless stories of self–destruction, tragedy, early deaths, and broken hearts. Whether we’re well–known or unknown, our lives need a solid anchor. Our global hope and our personal hope depend on being anchored to Jesus Christ.
The Anchor Keeps Us From Fearing the Future
That’s the message of the book of Hebrews, which was addressed to a group of Jewish Christians facing renewed pressure and persecution. These believers were discouraged. They were weary of the battle, and some of them wondered if they would survive the storm. According to Hebrews 10:32–36, they were afraid of the coming days.
The writer of Hebrews didn’t merely give them uplifting quotes or inspirational comments. He pulled them into the heart of the Old Testament and told them how God had given Abraham a promise in Genesis 12 and confirmed it with an oath in Genesis 15, “that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).
The passage continues: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus …” (verses 19–20).
Anchors have been a symbol of the Christian faith from the very beginning of Church history.
Anchors have been a symbol of the Christian faith from the very beginning of Church history. Many ancient Christian catacombs and cemeteries are filled with depictions of anchors. In his album, Soul Anchor, Michael Card observed, “The first century symbol wasn’t the cross; it was the anchor. If I’m a first century Christian and I’m hiding in the catacombs and three of my best friends have just been thrown to the lions or burned at the stake, or crucified and set ablaze as torches at one of Nero’s garden parties, the symbol that most encourages me in my faith is the anchor. When I see it, I’m reminded that Jesus is my anchor.”
We can face the future with confidence when we’re anchored to the Rock.
The Anchor Keeps Us From Drifting With the Tides
If Jesus is your anchor, He will also keep you from drifting with the tides. Life is never still, just as the sea is never silent. Even without storm warnings, the currents of our culture are always moving. The undertow of temptation is just below the surface. But a solid relationship with the Lord Jesus—a commitment to Him as Lord and Savior—will steady the ship and keep us from drifting.
Think again of the image drawn from Hebrews 6. Use your imagination. Picture your life as a ship on the seas of life. You’re standing on the deck with an anchor at your feet. A cable rests in your hands, and you’re ready to cast anchor. Instead of dropping it into the ocean, see yourself swinging it around as you aim it upwards. Let go. Watch it fly through the sky, enter the heavenly tabernacle of God, and attach itself to the Solid Rock in the most holy place behind the veil.
That’s the picture the Bible paints for us, and when I close my eyes and think of it, I realize afresh the greatness of my stability in Christ. The winds may blow, the tides may rise and fall, the currents of culture may pull at me. But I have an anchor that keeps my soul steadfast and sure, even amid the tides of temptation and currents of concern. And so do you.
The Anchor Keeps Us From Capsizing in the Storms
Anchors also keep us from capsizing in the storms. In her book You Are Not Alone, Dena Yohe describes the pain and panic she endured as her daughter lapsed in and out of crises. Dena finally made a discovery. “The most important thing about my life wasn’t how my children were doing (as important as that was) but my relationship with Jesus, my Savior…. When I chose to focus on Christ, my real hope, firm hope, was revealed.”
Using a similar illustration as that in Hebrews 6, Dena continued, “Our challenge is to loosen our grip on the fragile hopes we’ve been setting our hearts on. They’re slippery and elusive. They slip through our fingers like sand…. Hope is the rope thrown to us by almighty God, who fastens it tightly around our waists to keep us from falling into a pit of despair…. Please take hold of this new kind of hope.”2
But we have an anchor that grips all the promises in the Bible, and our risen Lord guarantees those promises.
You may be in stormy weather. You may be cast down because of ominous medical reports or an angry neighbor. Maybe there’s a divisive problem in your family or church. We don’t always know how things will work out in the short run, so we can’t base our hopes on immediate gratification. But we have an anchor that grips all the promises in the Bible, and our risen Lord guarantees those promises. He alone can keep us from capsizing in the storm.
Only Jesus can provide global hope. He’s the only hope for our world. And He’s our personal hope. He’s our firm foundation. The circumstances of this life cannot toss us to and fro if we’re anchored to Christ. Let Him steady your physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual life. Let Him keep you steady, for, as an old hymn says:
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 Savior’s love.3
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Turning Points devotional magazine.
1Tiana Kennell, “The Beach Boys’ Mike Love opens up about career and life,” The Shreveport Times, March 12, 2015, www.shreveporttimes.com/story/entertainment/arts/2015/03/11/beach–boys–mike–love–opens–career–life/70161422/
2Dena Yohe, You Are Not Alone (New York: WaterBrook, 2016), 141–142.
3Priscilla J. Owens, “We Have an Anchor,” published in 1882.
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