The Anchor of Hope

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by Pastor Dan Christian

As a new year begins, what are you depending on for stability and security? If there are major changes looming on the horizon for you this year, what will keep you steady in the midst of the upheaval of change? If you—or someone you love—are experiencing illness or disease, or even impending death, how will you walk through that dark valley? Or maybe there is nothing out of the ordinary that you can see right now, but there is a low-level undercurrent of anxiety over the unknown circumstances that may come your way this year—how will you deal with those unknowns?

Hebrews 6:19a says “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…” Hope is a sure and steadfast anchor for the soul of the Christian.
But this verse is not speaking of hope as merely a vague, generic concept; rather, the hope that is sure and steadfast is a specific, tangible reality. That hope is the certainty of the promises of God. The hope set before us as believers is the promise God has made, backed by His unchanging character that cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18). Jesus Christ is the embodiment of that hope, because Christ is the fulfillment of those promises of God that are guaranteed by His unchanging character.

Hope is what anchors our soul to face whatever this new year will bring. Hope provides stability in the upheaval of transition. Hope provides light in the dark valley of disease and death. Hope provides security and peace in all the unknowns.

But soul-anchoring, security-providing hope for the Christian is not merely wishful warm-fuzzies that maybe we’ll receive if we’re lucky. No, the sure and steadfast anchor of the Christian’s soul is the guaranteed reality of the promises of God that have already been fulfilled in Christ, and which will be finally and fully fulfilled when Christ returns to bring His Bride in to the wedding feast. So when we say that hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of our soul, what we are really saying is that Christ is the sure and steadfast anchor of our soul, because He is the embodiment of that hope. Christ is the “hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain” (Hebrews 6:19b) as our great high priest and mediator.  

On a recent Sunday morning, we sang a wonderful song called Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor (by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell). The line that is repeated at the end of each stanza is: “I will hold fast to the anchor / It shall never be removed.” The reason we can hold fast to this immovable anchor is because the anchor is not just a generic concept but a tangible Person: Christ.  

Christ the sure and steady anchor

In the fury of the storm

When the winds of doubt blow through me

And my sails have all been torn.

In the suffering, in the sorrow

When my sinking hopes are few

I will hold fast to the anchor

It shall never be removed.

 

Christ the sure and steady anchor

While the tempest rages on

When temptation claims the battle

And it seems the night has won.

Deeper still then goes the anchor

Though I justly stand accused

I will hold fast to the anchor

It shall never be removed. 

Just as the psalmist of Scripture preaches to his soul to hope in God (Psalm 42:5, 11), so also in this song there is a subtle shift in the third verse as the singer speaks to his or her own soul: “In your hopelessness and despair, O my soul, somehow lift your eyes to Christ as the source of your hope.”  

Christ the sure and steady anchor

Through the floods of unbelief

Hopeless, somehow, O my soul now

Lift your eyes to Calvary.

This my ballast of assurance

See His love forever proved

I will hold fast to the anchor

It shall never be removed.

Christ the sure and steady anchor

As we face the wave of death

When these trials give way to glory

And we draw our final breath.

We will cross that great horizon

Clouds behind and life secured

And the calm will be the better

For the storms that we endured.*

Dear brothers and sisters, we do not know all that this new year will bring. God willing, there will be moments of joy and peace this year, but doubtless there will also be seasons of suffering and sorrow. So hold fast to the sure and steady anchor of Christ, and know that for the Christian, these trials will one day “give way to glory” when Christ brings us out of the storm and into His presence for all eternity.

*genius.com/Matt-papa-christ-the-sure-and-steady-anchor-lyrics