When You Are Fighting The Despair Of Hope
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.
God made you in such a way that you can survive tremendous ordeals–illness, imprisonment, persecution, and privation. You can live without food and water–far longer than you might think. You can handle a tremendous amount of stress, but there is one thing with which you cannot do without. Apart from this you quickly despair. It is hope! You can rebuild when illness has ravished your body. You can put your finances together again, and you can pick up the broken pieces of your world when the bottom drops out, and go on, but when you are overcome by the despair of hope, you give up and die!
Have you ever been in a boat or a ship which was caught by a ferocious storm, and there was no way you could hitch a helicopter ride or take a submarine and avoid the waves? You weren’t about to give up and die so you simply had to ride it out. Paul faced that very situation when he was on his way to Rome and their ship was caught by a ferocious Mediterranean storm. You can read about it in Acts 27 of the New Testament. When bad came to worse, they “dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.” Talk about a wing and a prayer.
For you who are fighting the despair of hope, there are four anchors which can keep you from the rocks and bring the dawn of hope. The first anchor is hope in the person of God Himself. The writer of Hebrews says this hope is “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19). It makes a tremendous difference when you realize that God is in control, that the circumstances of life–no matter how dark–are subject to His will and command, and that the storm can rage only as long as He allows it to rage. That’s comforting, no matter how strong the wind.
The second anchor you can use when you have to ride out the storm is hope in the word of God. The Psalmist wrote, “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5). He had learned that the winds seldom are stopped as quickly as they did on Galilee when Jesus calmed the waters, saying, “Peace be still.” When the sea is agitated and the winds are blowing, it takes some time for them to subside. “I wait for the LORD,” he said, and “in his word I put my hope.”
One of my favorite hymns has a verse that goes, “My heart is resting on the Word/ The written Word of God, / Salvation by my Savior’s name, / Salvation through His blood.” You can have confidence in the Word only when you become convinced that God’s Word is true; and as Jesus said, it cannot be broken. So, you take it by faith, and realize that He will honor those marvelous promises which it contains.
The third anchor which will hold your steady in the time of storm is hope in the nature and goodness of the Lord. When you personally come to understand that God is good, and that goodness flows from His essential nature, you also can accept the fact that God is not striving to punish you by allowing the winds to blow, but rather this is an opportunity for you to discover how strong He is.
Without time to elaborate, the fourth anchor which holds you away from the rocks in the time of storm, is the realization that nothing is forever but God. There is always a sunrise following the dark night. Remember, the sailors on board Paul’s vessel put out the four anchors and “prayed for the daylight.”
The darker the night, the brighter the dawn. Hope lets you ride out the storm when the ship of your life is tossed about and you feel there is no way to survive.