BY FRANK GIL:
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:19-20 ESV) Have you ever been in a place where you felt like you were sinking and you were helpless in finding a way out? Literally, one time I was on a canoe with a friend on a large river in North Florida where there are Alligators and other things I would prefer not to get close to. There was a hole in our canoe and we were about six inches from swimming with six foot gators. I was freaked out and literally scared for my life. Luckily, another larger boat came by and rescued us but for a moment, I was thinking that this could be the moment I enter into eternity and was slightly bitter I wasn’t married yet.
While sinking in a boat is tense on your heart, we go thorough storms in our lives where we feel like we are sinking and our soul feels abandoned and lost. I can probably name more than I wanted to of situations where I questioned God and felt that he has left me to drift through a storm alone. One moment in particular was when my mother had a stroke. Within a five day period she had two strokes that left her weak on her right side and unable to walk or talk. This is the woman who had worked two jobs for most of my life to support our family and still managed to get me to church every Sunday and Wednesday. She was still able to get to her Ladies Bible studies somehow. I don’t know how she did it but she did. So when she had a stroke and everything I knew as normal changed, it was one of the hardest times of my life. I fought with God. I literally yelled at him screaming, “how could you do this to her? Of all the people who should get a life crippling disability, it wasn’t her. She loved you too much. She prayed to you and gave to her church too much. She didn’t deserve any of this!”
I think what I was most upset about was the uncertainty. I didn’t know what the future held for me as a 19 year old college kid with now no parents to be there for me if I needed help. All I knew was that I was on my own. So in a very real way, my soul felt like it was drifting in a storm and I was at the mercy of the waves. I think it is worth looking at Peter in this moment because in many ways, I was like Peter. The storm was huge and the waves were high. Jesus told Peter to join him on the water. Peter was walking, not just on water, on waves. Peter is literally doing the impossible while he keeps his eyes on Jesus. Peter starts to look at the waves and the wind and he begins to sink. Jesus grabs him and he tells Peter the same thing he tells us when we begin to lose faith and wonder why God has left us alone to drift in our storms; “Why did you doubt?”
We can easily reply back to Jesus, “Well because everything sucks right now! Life is really hard! I am losing the people I love and everything that was is turning upside down.” However, that reply or whatever crazy circumstances you may be going through would be silly to tell Jesus as he is holding you from your death like Jesus is doing with Peter. Peter literally just walked on waves. He did what is truly impossible. So when Jesus asked “Why did you doubt” to say anything other than “I took my eyes off of you” would be silly. The reason our souls drift and begin to doubt is because we lose sight on what Jesus has done in our life already.
Jesus has done the impossible with us. He brought us from the domain of darkness into his marvelous light. He has brought sinners who were dead in their trespasses and brought them to resurrected life. He has done the impossible and incredibly more all for us. In Hebrews 6:19 the author says that we have a sure and steadfast anchor to our soul. The only issue with anchors is they work best when we don’t see them. Anchors are at the ocean floor holding the boat down as the waves and wind hit it. With Jesus being our anchor, he isn’t promising life will be easy. In fact, Jesus tells us often that life will be difficult. We will get hit by the waves and wind. We will get bruised up and even bleed. But Jesus will hold us in place. We just need to keep our eyes on him. We have a future hope that isn’t based on “what ifs” but based on the guaranteed promise that Christ will restore all things to himself. Pain and suffering is a part of the Christian experience but so is hope. Our hope is that this life isn’t the end. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. When Christ comes back to restore everything as it should be, the storm will end and the peace we are all desperately searching for will be gained. Keep your eyes on the one who can anchor our soul.
Frank graduated from Trinity College with a degree in Pastoral Ministry. He is currently the Student Ministry Pastor of FUSE Student Ministries at Epikos Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a regular contributor to Youthmin.org.