Blog by Cherese Jackson
We all enter seasons of challenge and uncertainty. Life has a unique way of administering humbling transitions no matter our background, pedigree, or zip code. The rich and the poor alike struggle to navigate the treacherous waves that arise, all the while hoping for soon coming relief. Anna Freud, famed psychoanalyst and youngest child of Dr. Sigmund Freud, once said, “We are imprisoned in the realm of life, like a sailor on his tiny boat on an infinite ocean.”
That sounds pretty grim until we remember our life is not just an aimless shot in the dark, but carefully directed by a loving God. In fact, our lives are securely held in Christ Jesus. No wonder the writer of Hebrews penned in chapter six… “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.”
Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…
The writer of Hebrews uses the image of an anchor to describe the confident hope we can have in God. When a boat is in open water, away from a dock, nothing can keep it in place but an anchor. The anchor keeps the boat from drifting off in any direction. No wonder Hebrews calls hope “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” As the anchor does for a boat, hope does for our souls.
Every day things happen that can steal and rob us of our hope. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves reeling with the hopeless thoughts such as, “I’m never going to make it, I’m so disappointed, or I might as well give up!” Life seems so unfair at times, especially when we are faced with a dilemma that hits us so hard it knocks the wind out of us and nearly derails us from the life we are called to live. However, we do not have to live as those without hope because God sent Jesus for us – our hope – so we would have a traveling partner in the lane of life we are called to live.
Here, the author was writing to people who were facing hardship and persecution because of their Christian faith. A few were tempted to abandon Christ and return to Judaism or their old way of doing life. He is urging them to endure by putting their focus on the superiority of Jesus and His redemptive power. The goal is to instill in them Biblical hope—not just a positive, cheerful disposition— instead, a firm attitude of joy based on the promises of God, who cannot lie.
He uses an anchor as a metaphor to let us know that Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, is the one who steadies our soul in the midst of tumultuous times. The main reason a ship needs an anchor is to ride out storms so that it is not blown off course or into the rocks or banks nearby. Even in a safe harbor, a ship needs an anchor so that it will not drift, hit something, and sink. Whether in the storms of life or in the harbor (calm times) of life, we all need an anchor for our souls so that our lives are not diverted from the intended course.
In Hebrews 12:1-2, the writer encourages us to run with perseverance the race marked out for us, while fixing our eyes – our trust – on Jesus. This tells us that we cannot trust “firmly” in any other, not our success, business, money, family, or even prominence. Of all the good things we could look to and draw hope from, Jesus demands our exclusive gaze. Looking to anything else will eventually be exposed as the hollow pursuit it is.
Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever
The only certainty in our world is the name of Jesus. In the Christian life, we are called to spread hope and awaken the world to the power of its inspiring presence. We do so by offering Jesus, who is our unfailing source of hope. In this life, “The billows may roll, the breakers may dash, but I will not stray because He holds me fast.” When the waters of life get rough, or when we cannot see the shore, let our hope in Jesus be the anchor for our souls