“Just a minute. Mommy needs to row out a little farther and let down the anchor again.”
I had taken my three little ones out fishing one bright, sunny afternoon. The rock pile that was always a good hideout for bass and perch was just a hundred yards or so offshore… an easy row and shallow enough for the anchor rope.
I let the rope on the winch run out, and it stopped, presumably with the anchor resting on the lake bottom. But as I set each child up with pole and bait, I noticed we were slowly drifting toward shore.
Several times I cranked up the anchor, rowed out again, and released the winch. Same result. After about an hour of this nonsense, and three scrawny rock bass later, I hauled up the anchor and rowed to the dock.
My father greeted us with, “Is that anchor working now? The rope was jamming part way down, so I’ve been taking an extra anchor with me.”
Thanks, Dad, for the timely suggestion!
I’m always amazed at the massive anchors of cruise ships and giant aircraft carriers. Their weight and size remind us of the magnitude of the vessels they are intended to hold in place. Even when they rest far below the surface, we know they are there because the ship is secure.
Some say they only trust anchors they can see… the anchors of family and friends. Of course, what we think is an anchor could actually turn out to be just another person’s boat. We might find they are anchored to something we truly shouldn’t trust. Even worse, if they are drifting as much as we are, we run the risk of actually going over a waterfall with them!
Another suggestion we often hear is to rely on our own anchorage. Several years ago, I listened to a middle school presentation on self-reliance and “finding your inner strength.” The lad next to me leaned over and whispered, “Do they really think we’re going to fall for this junk?” Even at his young age, he was aware of his own fallibility and weakness, willing to acknowledge to his substitute teacher that he didn’t have a huge inner resource to rely on.
We want our leaders to be anchors, people we can go to for support and help with difficult situations. How wonderful when we know that leader is also anchored in the Lord! But how disappointed we are when something about their behavior tells us that they can’t be trusted. Something in their agenda doesn’t seem to align with the Lord’s. They say, “Trust me!” But you often feel uncomfortable following their lead.
Fortunately, I was blessed with several principals who I was sure had my back. They knew what it meant to be an anchor. They didn’t have to say, “Trust me!” because they showed they could be trusted. I could even trust most of them with my heart, and they would protect it.
Yet, I didn’t place my hope in them. I didn’t trust them with what was most important.
That’s because my hope is an anchor (Hebrews 6:19), or as The Message says, it’s that “unbreakable spiritual lifeline.” Jesus and all He accomplished made it possible for me to have, as Romans 5:1 says, “peace with God.” I can enter the Holy of Holies behind the temple curtain that was torn at Christ’s death. I can come before the very throne of God because of that anchor of hope, confident I won’t be turned away because of the dirt of my sin.
Now, I have the joy of taking that completely reliable anchor as my own and using it as the anchor for all I say and do. That firm, secure, steadfast, certain assurance of forgiveness connects me with my God and allows me to connect with those whose hearts are entrusted to me.
It is a real honor and a huge responsibility when someone says I’m the one they are depending on… when they really are saying, “In this situation, you are my anchor!”
But then I’d better be anchored to the One who is the Solid Rock. The One who doesn’t shift course or threaten to untie me and set me adrift. The One who rose victorious over death… giving me the hope… the promise that the victory is mine too!
Can I see my victory? Oh, not completely. But I know it’s there. I see where my Lord has supported me, led me, comforted me.
When those earthly props I sometimes rely on give way…
When I can’t see His face because of the darkness in my life…
In those tornadoes and hurricanes of taunts and unfairness and discouragement…
… Then the only secure, stable, unchanging, constant, firm, fixed, set, balanced, immovable, unchangeable thing left is the anchor of His grace. He restores the equilibrium of my turbulent soul.
Unfortunately, too often, I treat Jesus as the anchorman on my team. Instead of securing myself to Him from the start, too often I go to Him as a last resort, begging Him to pull me through for one more win.
And those times when I look to a different anchor, but it isn’t strong enough or deep enough to grab hold… when I feel like I’m pulling on those oars with all my might just to keep from drifting further from my goal… that’s when my true Anchor, unseen far below the swells and waves, grabs hold. And I am held fast.
I feel Him anchoring me securely in place… allowing me to rest and renew in His arms… once again, restoring my joy.
Leaving my guilt at the cross,
(This blog first appeared in 2016 on the Lead Like Jesus website www.leadlikejesus.com)