Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
We have this Hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:19)
We are created to be people of hope. Hope is critical and necessary to a heart-healthy, peaceful and flourishing life. It is one of the “big three” (faith-hope-love) mentioned in 1st Corinthians 13. It seems to me that hope and peace are very much related; maybe fraternal twins – or at least first cousins. The first scripture above illustrates what we have all experienced ourselves or observed in the lives of others going through hard and tragic times. Hard times typically are marked by loss. We have all tasted hopelessness. When hopelessness is the constant cup from which we drink, the heart, that vulnerable God-created part of us which is most central to our humanity, begins to, in the words of the proverb – sicken. While hope is about the future (hope that is seen is no hope at all. For who hopes for what he already has? Romans 8:24) hope clearly and decisively affects the present tense state of our lives and our emotional/spiritual wellbeing.
Obviously the weightier the object hoped for, the greater potential for heart-sickening pain, if the desire is not met. It is one thing to hope our favorite team wins the game. It is a very different weight to carry to hope that our loved one will healed of cancer.
But here is our problem; not all hopes are fulfilled. Life is filled with losses! We may experience loss of income, titles and reputation. We may experience loss of friendships for various reasons. We may experience the painful loss of a loved one. We may experience loss of dreams for ourselves, dreams for marriages, dreams for our children and families.
How then are we to navigate the stormy and sometime raging seas of loss and not have our hearts sickened into hopelessness? We need an anchor!
An anchor does not keep us from experiencing the storm. An anchor does not promote denial concerning the waves and winds, pretending by a false notion of faith that they are not there. However, the anchor is holding us tightly through the storm. The boat is tethered by rope or chain to the unseen anchor which is securely fixed, unmovable to the Foundation beneath the waves. Although the ship may be tossed around; the anchor is not, because it is fixed to the Rock. The anchor keeps the vessel from becoming shipwrecked because the Rock to which it is anchored will not let go!
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us!(Hebrews 6:19-20)
Jesus as our forerunner has passed through the veil of the unseen on our behalf – at an enormous cost. The writer of Hebrews (4:15) expresses that Jesus experienced the full spectrum of humanity, with the all-important caveat “yet without sin”. In His humanity He experienced triumph, celebration, joyful relationships and loving reverence. In His humanity He faced the passionate agony and the crushing weight of an eternal choice in the Garden of Gethsemane that dropped Him to the ground, sweating blood. He was revered as King on Palm Sunday and sentenced to death on Good Friday. He even deeply felt a sense of hopeless-rejection as He groaned out the words “my God why have you forsaken me?” He knows us and He knows what we are made of.
Hope indeed is like an anchor, but what our hope is anchored to is critical. The temporal systems of this world are simply not durable or resilient enough. Ultimately our hope is not in a circumstance or a particular outcome. Our hope is not in a theology or a doctrine. Our hope is in a Person who is defined as Love, sacrificial in His kindness, generous in His mercy and redemptive in His care for us.
He alone can hold us (be with us, Shepherd us) through every stormy season and potential loss. He genuinely does understand, does care and does love us through every stormy circumstance. His loves transcends time and space and in some incredible mysterious way anchors us to Himself in unseen eternity. In the present, we can “taste and see that the Lord is good”, in the present we can “be still and know that He is God”, in the present, we can know Him as Comforter. However, the Eternal One who awaits us will one day wipe away every tear and heal every hurt. Now that is Hope!
Love you Uncle Ray…this message of hope is very timely for me…i keep “looking for a better past; when I need to be looking for a better future”…that definitely includes putting my hope in Jesus❤ Pray you and Patty are well.
Wonderful words! So thankful to have an anchor and a Rock during these tumultuous times! Wonderful imagery and wonderful reminder. And wonderful author.