I grew up just outside the village of Port Stanley, which is a small fishing town on the north shore of Lake Erie in Ontario, Canada. By no means given this would I consider myself a great fisherman, definitely not a professional. But I did spend several summers when I was a teen fishing with my grandfather on our boat. Pickerel was the main fish we fished for. But also Perch was another common fish and on the rare occasion we caught a salmon. In that time of fishing I learned a bit about boats and fishing. Even observing the fishing tugs that made Port Stanley harbour home that I saw as we left to go out on the lake and then when we came back in after fishing for the day. I think this gives me an insight into the disciples of Peter, James, John, Andrew and Philip who all were fisherman before leaving to become disciples.
I understand what their profession was like and I have learned what it can be like on rough waters or when the wind blows. It’s easy to drift off course. Two important things when out on a boat are a compass and an anchor. A compass helps you find your way but something I found interesting about the second article the word "anchor" means "hope" and when you relate an anchor being what keeps you where you want to be when your in a boat, preventing you from drifting off course, you think of how hope applies to our faith life. Hope is what often keeps us focused on keeping our faith.
It’s also interesting to note that the word "anchor" appears four times in the New Testament - three times of the anchor of a ship and one time in a figurative sense. The author of Hebrews informed his readers about the promise God made to Abraham. "And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end to all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it with an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope that is set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that which is within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 6:15-20). Based on this reading from Hebrews, I ask you "Will Your Anchor Hold?"
In the late 1800s, Priscilla Owens and William Kirkpatrick wrote the beautiful hymn, "Will Your Anchor Hold?" In the first verse it reads: "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 you anchor drift, or firm remain?" If you do not already know by experience some of the heartaches, difficulties and troubles to which the human family is heir and wil face, if you live long enough, you almost certainly will. We live in a world that has been permanently corrupted by sin. There is no one who escapes this world without some kind of trouble.
No book in the Bible makes this truth plainer than the book of Job. For any one that has read it you are well aware all the tragedies Job suffered, but I want to read some of his reactions to those troubling situations. When he lost his wealth, his children, and was suffering from boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head, his wife said to him, "Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die." Job responded: "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin with his lips" (Job 2:9-10). The word "evil" in this context does not mean moral evil but trouble or adversity, such as Job was experiencing.
Over and over, the patriarch Job uses the word "trouble." I shall read a few more verses "Although affliction does not come forth from the dust, neither does trouble spring forth from the ground; yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward" (Job 5:6-7). "Man who is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He comes forth as a flower, and is cut down: he flees also as a shadow, and continues not" (Job 14:1-2). Because of Job's trust in God and his endurance under the most difficult circumstances, "The Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than the beginning" (Job 42:12). James wrote concerning this faithful servant of God: "Behold, you count them happy who endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the purpose of the Lord; that the Lord is compassionate and merciful" (Jas. 5:11). The word "patience" in this verse should be translated either steadfastness or endurance. Job was not patient in the sense we normally use that word, but he was steadfast. That relates back to the song “Will your anchor hold?”. Let me again quote from a verse of the song. “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.” As an anchor digs firmly into the sea floor, we continue to hold on firmly to the Word of God and we must be steadfast and hold our ground in our faith. To do that we must have Hope. Hope is our anchor in life. For Hope is one thing in life we cannot do without.
Now let me return to Hebrews 6:15 to 19. and especially focus on verse 19 – “This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God's inner sanctuary”. The word Anchor which means hope is shown here in Abraham. He waited patiently and stayed anchored in his faith. It was 25 years from the time God had promised him a son (Genesis 17:16) to Isaac’s birth (Genesis 21:1-3) Because of the trials and temptations are often so intense, they seem to last for eternity. Both the bible and the testimony of mature Christians encourage us to wait for God to act in his timing, even when our needs seem too great to wait any longer. God’s promises are unchanging and trustworthy because God is unchanging and trustworthy. When promising Abraham a son, God took an oath in his own name. The oath was as good as God’s name, and God’s name was as good as his divine nature. God’s nature and His promise are unchanging things. God embodies all truth; therefore, he cannot lie. Because God is truth, you can be secure in his promise; you don’t need to wonder if he will change his plans. Our hope is secure and immovable, anchored in God, just as a ship anchor holds firmly to the seabed. To the true seeker who comes to God in belief, God gives an unconditional promise of acceptance. When you ask God with openness, honesty and sincerity to save you from your sins, he will do it. This truth should give you encouragement, assurance and confidence.
We can learn from both Abraham and Job’s hope and faith. Abraham’s patiences and hope that held him in his faith. Jobs facing his trouble by his steadfast Hope. He was his anchor in held him in his faith in God. Job’s story shows us how we should respond when the storms of life hit. Holding stead fast in place, anchored by our faith. Not moving during the violent, variations of the storms that are the troubles we face in our lives. Job lost everything but refused to turn away from God.
Sometimes each of us face hard times, our faith gets tested by the storms of life and the world. We lose faith. Even get mad at God and sometimes walk away. I understand. I’ve been there. So have many other Christians at points in there lives. In the face of that we must remember the anchor of a boat. Even in the most violent storm the anchor of the boat holds it firm and gives it hope of staying steadfast in place until the storm is finished. Will your anchor hold you?
Matthew R. Marshall