I Have an Anchor

An Anchor When I’m Trembling

When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.  Psalm 75:3 NIV

Google News is my home page.  When I set it, that was a great idea.  I was in Africa, after all, far from all other sources of news, and I enjoyed scanning the headlines when I logged on before I checked my e-mail.

But now, when I get online, makes me ill.  The news has moved from interesting to gruesome. Tragedy screams at me from local and international levels.  Beheadings.  Ebola. Babies are left in hot cars to die, while across the globe, radicals are kidnapping and torturing innocents. Russia. Iraq.  Earthquakes and floods and tornados.  I can’t get off the Google News page fast enough.  It makes me quake.  It makes me realize the entire world is quaking.

This world is all I know.  If it crumbles, then what?

God.

God is the anchor even when his creation wavers, even when our sin has so entangled us that our nations are choking and dying and strangling each other – God holds firm.

This verse is drawn from a Psalm that assures us God will judge the wicked.  All those injustices blazoned across my computer screen have not escaped God’s notice.  He will – one day – set all to right.

And if wars come and wipe out my nation, if civilization as I know it turns into something I’d really rather not know – God will still be there, holding firm.

One day, Jesus will return.  One day, He’ll establish a new heaven and a new earth.   He is my anchor, not my government or my hometown or my planet. God is the one who holds the pillars firm.

I am truly on solid ground.

I Have an Anchor

Holding to Jesus

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.  He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. – Psalm 1:1-6, NASB

We have a tradition most mornings, a routine for our drive to school that I’ve been doing since my thirteen-year-old was in kindergarten. I sing to my kids. Not just any old song. A specific song that I heard when my oldest girls were just babies, a song that has been my longing and prayer for them since before they could talk.

Maybe you’ve heard it. If not, click here. Below are the lyrics to the chorus, but you really need to hear Erin O’Donnell sing the whole thing for full impact.

Hold on to Jesus

Cling to His love

Rest deep in His mercy

Whenever things get rough

Don’t lose sight of His goodness

And don’t ever doubt this truth

That when you hold on to Jesus

He’s holding on to you.

He’s holding on to me. To my kids. To my hopes. To my eternity. Praise, you Jesus, you are good.

I Have an Anchor

Jesus: An Anchor in Times of Doubt

They had forgotten to take bread and had only one loaf with them in the boat. … They were discussing among themselves that they did not have any bread. Aware of this, He said to them, “Why are you discussing that you don’t have any bread?  Do you not yet understand or comprehend?  Is your heart hardened? Do you have eyes, and not see, and do you have ears, and not hear?  And do you not remember?  When I broke the five loaves for the 5,000, how many baskets full of pieces of bread did you collect?” Mark 8:14, 16-19 NASB

Sometimes, I think those disciples were pretty dense.  I mean, they had just witnessed the miracle of Jesus feeding thousands men with a few loaves and a handful of fish.  A mind-boggling miracle, if you ask me.  A few hours later, there they were in a boat in the middle of the sea, and they realize, “Uh-oh. We forgot to pack dinner.  What are we going to do, guys?  Any ideas?”

Jesus – right there in the boat with them – just stares at them.  Really?  Were you there a few hours ago when I made a couple of loaves into thousands?

Makes me shake my head, until I … um … look at my own life.  Jesus has performed so many miracles for me and in front of me.  In my four decades of life, I’ve faced hundreds of personal problems that seemed absolutely unsolvable, and yet … he’s solved every one.  I can look back and attest to the utter faithfulness of God in every. Single. Situation.

But, when a new problem presents itself – I wring my hands and ask my boat mates “What shall I do?”   Surely, this problem, this new thorny issue, is more complicated than any before.

It’s not.  It feels that way.  But it’s not.

One of the many lessons my godly husband has taught me is not to allow my emotions to control me.  And I believe that is the same lesson Jesus was trying to pound into his disciples’ thick heads.  You may feel like the situation is hopeless, but choose to trust Me based on your past experience with Me.  Trust me even when your feelings scream the opposite.

Jesus was the anchor in that boat.  It wasn’t being tossed by furious waves, but simply by emotions of doubt and fear.  The problem wasn’t even that huge.  The disciples were merely hungry. Their lives were not in danger.  Jesus was still the solution. And the problem, small as it was, came about because the disciples themselves made a mistake. They forgot to pack bread.  Jesus didn’t rebuke them for forgetting the bread and causing the problem.  He rebuked them for not trusting Him to solve it.

In every problem, small or large, caused by my own mistakes or not – Jesus is my anchor.

I Have an Anchor

Feather-Heads and Fences

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statures of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. ~Psalm 19:8-10, NKJV

The question is inevitable. Every year one of my AWANA kids asks it, usually about the time that they are memorizing the Ten Commandments.

Why does God have so many rules?

It’s interesting to think about this question. Probing it always leads me to dig for the root—where does that question really begin? Why do I think that God has too many rules? Why do I want to know why God has laid out these rules? Why do I have a hard time following them?

The most obvious answer is sin. A rebellious, stubborn heart which yearns for its own way says to the God of these ‘rules,’ you can’t tell me what to do! Or I’ll do it my own way! That would be me, anyway. I don’t like paperwork, rarely follow a recipe, and usually like to figure out things on my own. That’s my stubborn personality (which, believe me, can work out very poorly!).

But, maybe there’s something else playing in this scenario, another root that is causing this nagging question about God and his rules. Perhaps there is, at the very core of this query, a misunderstanding.

I pondered this idea this morning as I was putting my chickens, yet again, back in their yard. Sadly, we can’t let them free-range. We live on the open prairie, and chickens wandering out in the unprotected space are prone to becoming hawk prey. Or coyote food. Or dog toys. We have a nice, big, fenced yard surrounded by trees for our chickens to run and play. But there are a couple of hens who insist that’s not good enough. I can almost hear in their squawking as I corral them back into their dwelling, why do you have this dumb fence, anyway? Why do I have to follow your rules?

Huh. That sounds familiar. The truth is my daughter has been heartbroken when her chickens get picked off. Heart. Broken. We keep them inside the fence so that they are safe, because, bless my little girl’s heart, she loves those feather-heads.

Rules are kind of like that, aren’t they? I’m squawking about the very thing that is intended to keep me anchored in safety. And by doing so, I’m questioning the heart of God.

You don’t want me to have any fun.

I love you, and I don’t want the talons of Satan sinking into your neck.

You think I can’t handle things by myself.

I know the prowling lion who waits to kill and devour.

Oh, feather-hearted soul, don’t misunderstand the heart of God. It is love that sets boundaries. It is grace that outlines the perimeter. Can you not trust the God who spared not his own Son to claim you for his own?

I Have an Anchor

I Have an Anchor: A Joint Post

 

I Have an Anchor – A Joint Post

We have this hope – like a sure and firm anchor of the soul – that enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because He has become a “high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19

From Susan:

It was a room so holy it could only be entered once a year.  The high priest did so trembling, carrying blood from the animal he had sacrificed for his own sins and those of the people.  If he didn’t get it right, he’d be struck dead as he passed behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies, the place where God Himself dwelt.  So why did a mere man take the chance?

The answer is in Hebrews 9:7.  Inside the Holy of Holies, the high priest offered the blood “for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.”  So once a year, all their sins – not just the ones they could think of and offer a sacrifice to atone for – but all of them, were covered.

This is what Jesus did for me.  He covered all my sins, not just one day out of 365, but every day, for all of eternity.  And that hope is my anchor.  Storms of life may toss me, make me sea sick, fill my mouth and nose with salt water, but I know my sins are forgiven and a better life is waiting for me.  On calmer days, I may just be pushed by the tides of busyness, every-day stress and distractions, but even still my hope anchor holds firm.  None of it can move me from my center – my forgiveness, my sure hope of a better future.

From Jen:

People speak of hope as if it were a wish upon a star. A flimsy, far-off desire that is more impossible than probable. Heaven would be that, if it were not for this once-for-all sacrifice of Christ.

Biblical hope is not this fairy-may kind of wish. It is being sure of what is not seen because of the promise of God. This hope is sure. It is solid. This is the kind of hope that leaves all known comforts behind. The kind that counts everything else as loss in order to cling to its promise.

Hope in anything else may be like chasing rainbows, but hope in Christ? It is the anchor in life and in death. An anchor that, come storms and high seas, will not fail.