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 fourth stanza reads:
“When our eyes behold through the gathering night
The city of gold, our harbor bright,
We shall anchor fast by the heavenly shore,
With the storms all past forevermore.”/2
In Acts 27:39-44, Paul and his fellow travelers, beaten and battered by the storms, saw land as the daylight fell upon them. While they still had to get to the land through the vicious waves, God said that all would arrive safely if they did as God commanded.
Our hope is in heaven as well as our hearts and dreams. We anchor in the throne of God and the splendor awaiting our entrance into heaven. We remain tethered to him as the waves crash around us. Faith is able to sustain us through the spiritual wars. Christ is our strength and shield (Ephesians 6:10-20). We should embrace him and be appreciative of his comfort and strength.
Unlike physical wars, there will come a time when every soldier in this spiritual war will die (Hebrews 9:27). We will then face the consequences of our works, whether good or ill (Revelation 20:11-15; Matthew 25:46).
Heaven will be a place of exhilarating beauty where we will never again encounter death, tears, pain, or misery because all these things will have passed away (Revelation 21:1-7). All of the storms will cease and unimaginable peace will reign for longer than the human mind can conceive.
The conclusion to the hymn reads:
“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 Savior’s love.”/3
God never lets man down. He is perfectly faithful, true, steadfast, and sure (Psalm 52:1; Psalm 89:8,33; Psalm 119:90; Lamentations 3:23).
God is an unmovable rock, firm until the end (Isaiah 32:2; Isaiah 4:6). We can settle our anchor in Christ and withstand all that man and Satan can offer (Romans 8:35-39). He never changes his will, his ways, or his goals for mankind. We can anchor to him and relax, because we remain connected to a cable that cannot be broken.
Christ will never leave his children (Hebrews 13:5). However, we can walk away from him. We can unmoor our ship and set sail into the hungry storm. The fleeting exhilaration of freedom turns to stark terror as we realize the calamity we have manufactured. However, as the waves consume us, it will be too late to return to port (Hebrews 6:4-6).
We must remain firm against all opposition. No matter what storms come our way, we hold onto God. Vincent Van Gogh said, “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”/4 We know the battles will come. We know they will be arduous and stretch the limits of our faith. Yet, that is not a sufficient reason to refuse to make the journey. “No one would ever have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in a storm.”/5
We must decide where we are steering our lives. Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote, “Tis the set of the sail that decides the goal, and not the storm of life.”/6 When we allow the storm to derail our trip to heaven, we have decided the journey is not worth the struggle (Matthew 13:45,46).
1/ http://tinyurl.com/ytwhj32/ Ibid.
by Richard Mansel