I can sit on my patio in the cool breeze of the morning and imagine being out at sea in the rocking of the waves and the brisk air. Imagining moving out on those vast waters, although a beautifully adventurous thought, is full of so many unknowns to me. This feet-in-the-sand, head-above-water girl can hardly overcome the overwhelming fear and complexities of being out in the ocean. In the past year, however, I have gotten to dip my feet in the ocean and even to venture on a boat out in part of the ocean’s waters. Our amazing friends, who have a boat and are quite skilled in all things dealing with boats and water and fishing, took us on a great adventure this past spring. I loved watching them be in their element, so passionate and full of knowledge of the intricacies of being out on the water. Although at their mercy, it put my little mind and heart at ease seeing them excel and come alive with such passionate understanding and skill.
Recently, I have been working on some chalkboard clipboards for the staff of the preschool where I teach part time. The anchor is a theme for our staff this year and I wanted to add strong words to the clipboards to accompany the anchor. I chose these words: “We have this HOPE as an Anchor” from Hebrews 6:19. Being so foreign to language involving the sea and boats and their processes and equipment, I didn’t fully grasp the words of this verse. For days and weeks I kept asking the Lord to help me understand this passage and how it applied to me, to the teachers at my school, and to my friends. As I was drawing each of the 25 little chalkboards, one at a time, the Lord spoke small pieces of understanding to me.
One weekend, during my quest to understand our “hope as an anchor” we got to join our friends on a little boating adventure. We didn’t venture out on the ocean again, but visited a local lake. It was a beautiful, hot day and there was nothing better than speeding over the water, watching other boats pass by, adoring the sail boats coasting in the wind, and then finding a calm little cove to drop anchor and cool off in the water. Our friend pulled the anchor out of it’s little spot to drop it into the water and I was immediately intrigued. I asked him if he would describe the anchor to me...it’s purpose, how he knew where to drop it, what he did after he dropped it, and what could happen if it didn’t work. He told me that the heavy anchor is kind of like a shovel and when you drop it into the water you want it to sink deep down and then dig in to the floor below. He said the the purpose of the anchor is to keep the boat from moving with the waves which would cause him to lose his boat. He had dropped anchor in the cove that was surrounded by rocky cliffs and told me that it was important to anchor in a place that leaves the boat room to move but keeps it away from the rocks. As we played in the water, I watched as the boat would ebb and flow with the movement of the water. After some time, however, my friends noticed that the rocks were uncomfortably close to the boat and they worked together to pull the anchor, move the boat, and drop anchor again...restarting the process of finding the safest place for their boat to rest.
This experience on the boat helped “hope as an anchor” really open up to me. Hope is an intangible lifeline. Without the lifeline of hope we can live lives filled with discouragement, devastation, and depression. Hope is invisible and intangible...the Bible says, “who hopes for what he already has?” While you can’t hope for something you already have, it is sometimes an overwhelming thought to grab onto something so invisible and intangible. God makes promises to us and He makes them based in His unchanging character and name. Hoping in Him and His promises is like grabbing onto this intangible lifeline, but it offers the utmost security. We drop a heavy, shovel-like anchor into the unchanging, firm and stable surface of the Lord’s character and we dig in. As we hope in Him, He provides us and incomparable stability, security, and place of rest. Often the waves of life will ebb and flow and possibly whip us around, but anchoring in His promises and character will keep our souls secure.
One thing I learned is that a boat cannot be tied up so tightly, without the slack and freedom to move with the waves, or it faces the risk of the waves beating so hard against it and suffering damage. I also learned that placing the anchor in the wrong location puts the boat at risk for crashing into the rocks. Our hope in the unchanging character and promises of God grants us freedom to move with the waves and still find stability in Him. We find security in a position of rest that keeps us safe from the potential damage found in surrounding threats. Dropping anchor is always for the purpose of REST. When “we have this hope as an anchor” we are holding an intangible lifeline in the unchanging character and promises of the Lord that establishes us in a position of rest. There will be time again that we will venture through the “great unknown,” and He will lead us, but our HOPE in Him will always offer us a moment of stable and secure REST.
I am praying for the teachers in my school and for my friends that throughout this year of adventure God will prove Himself faithful, His character unchanging, and His promises secure and that we will have this HOPE in Him as an anchor for our soul. The unknowns are scary, the waves sometimes overtake us, and the rocks get uncomfortably close but in those moments we can make the choice to drop our anchor of HOPE in the Lord and REST!