“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.”
Priscilla Jane Owens (1829 – 1907)

Growing up in church, we sang this old hymn above. I can still picture my dad waving his hand, leading our small congregation with my sister at the piano. That was more than 40 years ago, and the memory resurfaced as I pondered the following thoughts.

I have been doing surprisingly well since Jasmine went to be with the Lord. People have asked me, “How are you doing it?” Responding with, “It is by God’s grace,” is true, but it sounds like a cliché, simplistic and broad. I did not have a more definitive answer . . . until now. 

When a significant part of your life is suddenly amputated, a feeling of “lostness” is inevitable, like drifting on an open ocean without an anchor. “Lostness” over losing a loved one, especially a child or a spouse, can be overwhelming, even paralyzing. How does one move forward from such a profound loss? 

I have counseled hundreds of people about their problems and life issues. They often did not need to be referred to a therapist or be medicated. They needed hope — not a human hope but a divine hope. On an earthly human level, hope is wishful thinking — a strong desire for something to happen, but without assurance that it will come to pass. Hope in God is very different. It is the confident expectation that God will fulfill His promises. The certainty, the hope, is anchored in God’s character — His faithfulness, His sovereignty, and the oath of His steadfast love (hesed in Hebrew). The writer to the Hebrews said, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19a)

After feeling lost from suffering a profound loss, embracing hope in God’s promises gives assurance of:

  • His presence, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5), 
  • His strength, “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10),
  • His comfort, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4), 
  • His steadfast love, “I have loved you with an everlasting lovetherefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (Jeremiah 31:3),
  • and being reunited with loved ones who were in Christ, “And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16b-17)

Clearly, many more attributes of God and promises can be cited, but these provide a firm anchor. Going through a crisis is where sound theology meets reality. I now have a definitive answer to the question, “How are you doing it?” I now understand that my theology is carrying me through my reality. I cannot boast or be proud as it has humbled me. It can best be expressed through another old hymn that my dad led in that little Baptist church.

My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, and blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
Edward Mote (1797 – 1874)

Is your life anchored in the promises of God? Without an anchor, your life will drift. But true hope — the confident expectation that God will fulfill His promises — enables you to stand firm even through life’s most difficult storms. Embrace true hope, which is the anchor for the soul. Move forward.

Stop and Consider . . .

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