The Anchor Of Faith
Although a ship has controls and automation, it is quite helpless when it comes to the simple concept of braking. So, when the ship stops and its engines are not running, there needs to be an anchor to ensure that the ship does not drift freely in the sea. If the anchor is placed properly on the bottom of the sea, it can hold down a giant ship, even in rough seas.
Just as ships need anchors to keep them from drifting away on the open seas, people need anchors when the winds of life blow.
Speaking of storms, November 8 marks one year since the typhoon - Supertyphoon Haiyan, the strongest storm on record - devastated Central Philippines and condemned millions to deep poverty. Many perished when the City of Tacloban and Eastern Visayas in the Philippines bore the brunt of the storm's devastating power and many survivors are still suffering to this day.
My heart breaks every time I see on TV the outpouring of grief of tens of thousands as people march to the mass grave sites under the hot sun to offer flowers, light candles, and say prayers. My heart bleeds when I hear stories of the survivors and how much they miss their loved ones who perished in that storm.
A mother said she lost her three children, including her youngest who was a day away from celebrating his second birthday, during the storm. Another woman has lost hope that the remains of her missing brother will ever be found; she said his name was not on the list of people buried in the mass grave, so she just wrote his name. These survivors are still in pain physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
"Many survivors have succumbed to depression," the news report. The survivors feelings of hopelessness and helplessness have been aggravated by the painful slow rebuilding efforts. With millions living in deep poverty and many dangerously exposed as they live in shanty homes along coastal areas, one may be tempted to ask, "Lord, will they ever recover? If so, when?"
With sincere empathy and compassion I would answer: "situations change, and the sands of time shift" but the Bible says, "those who put their trust in God are immovable like Mount Zion" (Psalm 125:1).
All of us experience life's storms from time to time. No one is excused from hardships and suffering for they are integral part of human existence. We can only differ in the intensity and the gravity of the crisis that each of us encounter.
When the storms of life rage, we need four anchors: faith in God, yourself, your family, and your friends. But there are times when your friends fail you, when your family lets you down, when you can hardly believe in yourself.
Only the anchor of faith in God endures when everything else fails.
Our faith therefore, must be more than the faith of generic dictionary variety. To be meaningful and effective, our faith must be centered in Jesus and His teachings.
True faith consists of two elements: belief, which appeals to the mind, and trust, which is experiential and demands a response to what you believe. For example, you may believe God can do the things you are hoping for, but you don't think He will. In this case, you have belief, but you're short on trust; and without trust faith is shallow and incomplete.
In addition to these two elements, faith should be firmly grounded in the following:
Faith in God's presence:
Storms can never conceal us from God. We may not see Him, but He sees us.
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." -Hebrews 13:5
God is right there with us. We never go through anything by ourselves. No matter what situation you are going through right now, God is with you. He is the only anchor that you can fully depend on.
Faith in God's purpose:
Realize that God has a specific purpose for your life. Storms are just temporary setbacks toward fulfilling that purpose. Absolutely, nothing will change God's ultimate purpose for your life unless you choose to disobey Him.
[pullquote width="300" float="right"]It is dangerous to focus on your problems more than your purpose for living.[/pullquote]
He will allow you to reject His plan, but the Scriptures teach us that no outside person can change God's plan for your life. God leaves that up to you. No matter what happens on the outside, external forces cannot alter God's purpose for your life as long as you say, "God, I want to do your will."
God's purpose is greater than any situation you will ever experience. God has a plan beyond the problems you are facing right now.
The point is this: It is dangerous to focus on your problems more than your purpose for living.
Faith in God's promise:
If you lose sight of why you exist, you will become purposeless.
"Keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me." -Acts 27:25
God keeps His promises without fail, so storms cannot change the purpose of God. Nor can storms destroy a child of God, because God's promises are certain.
So, if you are going through a devastating crisis right now and your problems are overwhelming you from every direction, I want to tell you this: You may lose cargo; you may lose the tackle of the ship; you may lose the ship; you may even get into deep waters and feel like you're drowning, but you are going to make it because of the anchor of your God.
Anchor yourself in the truths of God and pray. Allow His truth to stabilize your life and give you the confidence you need in the turbulence you face. Storms cannot hide God from you or you from God. God has a purpose for your life.
Let us make sure that we are firmly anchored to our faith in God for He is the ultimate anchor and the only one that can save us from the strongest storms and the roughest seas.
// image by Yelena Bosovik