by Richard Mansel
Priscilla J. Owens wrote the lyrics for “We Have an Anchor” in 1882./1 We can learn many lessons from this hymn.
The second stanza reads:
“It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
For ’tis well secured by the Savior’s hand;
And the cables, passed from his heart to mine,
Can defy the blast, through strength divine.”/2
When God is our anchor, we are firm against the crashing waves. John Steinbeck tells of anchoring his boat off the coast of Maine against a hurricane in his book, Travels with Charley. Helplessly, he watched his boat being beaten and battered. However, when the storm ceased, only his boat remained unscathed.
Securing ourselves to the Rock will allow us to persevere. David flees from his son Absalom who plans an overthrow of the throne (Psalm 61:1-4). “Our Father is not hardened against the cries of his children. What a consoling thought it is that the Lord at all times hears his people’s cries, and is never forgetful of their prayers; whatever else fails to move him, praying breath is never spent in vain!”/3
We seek refuge in the rock that is higher than we are. When we are “well-secured by the Savior’s hand,” we are in the enviable position that very few seek. The rest flail around pursuing other anchors, only to persevere in failure.
The job of fighting Satan is too arduous for man. The rock is insurmountable for our strength and wisdom. We require the arms and grace of God to lay anchor in the churning waters. And when the cables hold, we must remember that God also protects us from our enemies (Hebrews 13:6).
The third stanza reads:
“It will firmly hold in the straits of fear,
When the breakers have told the reef is near;
Tho’ the tempests rage and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.”/4
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV). We have faith in him as an anchor that can withstand any force. Complete faith in Christ will keep us safe in his arms (2 Timothy 1:12; Mark 11:24).
God promises he will always be with us, no matter what faces us (Hebrews 13:5; 1 John 4:18). “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.”/5
This does not mean that we cannot be apprehensive about death. The unknown nature of death brings a natural fear. We are nervous about meeting something so momentous and final when we know so little of what will happen.
The fear is that there are no answers, that God will not hear our cries nor be at our side. Christians have no need of these doubts. Scripture assures us that God will deliver on his promises (Titus 1:2; John 14:1-6).
Courage is being in the arms of God. The apostles were experienced seamen and yet found themselves in a storm that threatened to end their lives. “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling” (Mark 4:37). Jesus slept through this upheaval and when awakened, spoke and stilled the winds and waves saying, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39).
When the storms assail us daily, the waves are lapping into the boat and all seems lost, Christ is unaffected by the chaos. His mind is clear and he is able to handle the situation, if we will absolutely trust him.
1/ http://tinyurl.com/ytwhj32/ Ibid.
4/ http://tinyurl.com/ytwhj32/ Ibid.
by Richard Mansel