A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of spending a week in Aruba for my honeymoon. I was able to enjoy one of the most breathtaking environments imaginable from a small boutique resort right on the Caribbean ocean, with perfect weather, warm water, and of course my beautiful wife. Life was good. In fact, it had never been better. But just a month later, the honeymoon was over, both literally and figuratively. In that short period of time, my life went from an incredible high to an unexpected low.
My wife and I, just weeks after getting married, were planning to move across the country – coast to coast – from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. For those of you not familiar with the Canadian landscape, that’s a trek of over 6,000 kilometres (or almost 4,000 miles, for you Americans still enslaved to the imperial system, haha). But my wife and I viewed it as our first great adventure as a married couple, so we packed up the car and hit the road.
Seven days and 2,500 miles later, we turned around and came back.
While I won’t go into the details, God brought an event into our lives that was personally heartbreaking, financially crippling, and spiritually challenging. The primary reason we were relocating to British Columbia was so I could attend Bible College, as I felt called by God into full-time ministry. So when I was faced with the reality that we would have to turn around and go home to Nova Scotia, I felt lost. I didn’t know what my next step would be. But I knew one thing was for certain: God isn’t just there in the good times, He’s there in the bad times as well.
I’m reminded of this story because this past Sunday I introduced a new song called “Anchor” by Ben Fielding to my church in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I’m the Worship Pastor. The song is based on a passage in Hebrews 6 that states:
“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”
We’re all going to face challenging times in our lives, whether it’s struggling with the loss of a loved one, being hurt by something that someone has said or done to us, or by reaching a crossroads in our lives and wondering what our next step will be, as I was in my story. But through all of those circumstances, God has promised to be our refuge. He’s our anchor.
On the last day that my wife and I were in Aruba, we took a boat tour of the island. During that two hour or so cruise, I learned two things: 1) Aruba is a truly beautiful place where I’d love to retire someday, and 2) I get seasick. While I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the deck of the boat, taking in the coastal scenery, I was falling victim to the movement of the sea around me. I was never as thrilled as when that boat dropped anchor and I was back on solid ground again. Miraculously, my lunch made it back to shore with me as well.
The picture of a boat dropping anchor is how the author of Hebrews is describing God in our lives. When a boat drops its anchor, it secures itself to a place from which it will not move. Whether in the midst of a storm when a boat requires stabilizing from the elements of the sea, or in a calm harbor when it simply needs to remain secure so it won’t go adrift, the well-being of the boat – and its occupants – is entrusted to the anchor. The same is true of God in our lives. No matter what the circumstance, God will keep us secure in Him. Just as a boat that is not firmly anchored is at the mercy of the sea, if we are not firmly anchored in Christ then we will find ourselves adrift and at the mercy of the circumstances of life.
As Christians, it’s easy to rejoice in the greatness of God when things are going well in our lives. But it’s how we respond in the tough times that truly reflect our relationship with the Father. As John Piper has said, “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him, in the midst of loss – not prosperity.” That kind of response is only possible if God is our anchor.
So no matter the circumstances you find yourself in, whether you’re going through the storms of life or you’re in a calm time, remember that in every circumstance you have an anchor for your soul.