Ruth Caye Jones, a busy pastor’s wife and mother of five, wrote these words in 1943: “In times like these, you need a Savior, in times like these, you need an anchor; be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!” She had just read the World War II casualty lists. Hardship, fear, and discouragement gripped the country from coast to coast. And guess what? Her “times like these” weren’t so different from times like ours.
Hasn’t the world gone crazier than usual in the last few weeks? I freaked when a store clerk recently praised the world’s ungodly leaders as the “smart guys.” Other people moan: “Where is God? Has He fallen off his throne? Has He abandoned us?”
No, I say, I believe every event is working out according to His plan. As the character Miss Alice Henderson says in Catherine Marshall’s wonderful novel, Christy: “…the Power who broods over our aching world has quite a different idea…”
“Evil is real—and powerful. It has to be fought, not explained away, not fled. And God is against evil all the way. So each of us has to decide where WE stand, how we’re going to live OUR lives. We can try to persuade ourselves that evil doesn’t exist; live for ourselves and wink at evil. We can say that it isn’t so bad after all, maybe even try to call it fun by clothing it in silks and velvets. We can compromise with it, keep quiet about it and say it’s none of our business. Or we can work on God’s side, listen for His orders on strategy against the evil, no matter how horrible it is, and know that He can transform it.” ―Catherine Marshall, Christy
In the Storms of Life
Amid the global storms, I reviewed some personal goals. One stood out: to become a woman of firm confidence in God. Wow, that’s sure being tested these days—in this world and in my everyday life.
The prophet Jeremiah declared he wasn’t threatened by the prospect of long months of drought: “Blessed is the man (or woman) who trusts in the Lord…for (s)he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious…nor cease to yield fruit” (Jer. 17:7-8, NASB). I’m claiming those steadfast roots today.
Droplet Gift # 36: In times like these, I will be a woman of confidence. I will trust and not be afraid.
In my most recently completed book, Anchor of Last Hope, the frequent motif of an anchor symbolizes confidence in hard times. The character Valeria Serrano explains her personal faith crisis like this:
“Faith wasn’t rules or rituals. It wasn’t that fuzzy feel-good God-is-love-and-helps-those-who-help-themselves stuff, either. For me, it was trusting God in the dark, in the pain, in the depths of hopelessness. It was throwing my anchor to Him, in real crises, not just in the lifeboat drills. The authenticity of my faith had to show when life was hard, not when it was easy in church. That was the test.” –Diana Delacruz, Anchor of Last Hope
And how true that is. In the test of this day’s storm, will my anchor hold?
When the Breakers Roar
How should I respond as a writer to all that’s happening in the world? Some feel compelled to address every issue, and they perform an invaluable service to God’s kingdom. Others prefer to distract readers from the wounds and worries for a little while. This is where the novelists and humorists and poets come in, and they too serve our need for diversion and beauty-amid-ashes.
“It is the spirit of the poets that gives the soldiers strength to fight.” –Casting Crowns, Come to the Well
In a world where there is so much seriously bad going on, it’s nice to have a little fun once in a while. For example, one of my fellow authors at Heart Ally has just published a book of curious historical anecdotes with the rollicking title I See Lincoln’s Underpants that you might enjoy checking out.
Though so different, perhaps at heart this is what I try to do in Seaglass Blog and even in all my books. I write about sober subjects and still try to add the ingredient of joy to the mix. We must face the truth yet stir in grace. We must recognize reality without letting despair defeat us.
Because, I remind myself daily, a greater reality hides behind the hopelessness we see on the surface. A light shines in the darkness. A river runs beneath the desert sands. The Rock of Ages remains unmoved—and unmovable—by the “winds of strife.”
So a better question than “Where is God?” is: “How big is your God?” His Story is approaching its climax. And my anchor holds in the storm.
In the Straits of Fear
Have you ever seen a killick anchor? This is the traditional Chilote sacho I occasionally mention in my books, a heavy stone enclosed in a wooden framework. At a crumbling alcázar (castle) in Spain, Valeria discovers an old killick surrounded by a tiled fountain. The old man who lives there counsels her: “Set your anchor down in love, in God, in what you know to be true. This old sacho…it is your basic anchor, no? A rock tied inside some sticks, nothing fancy but solid. And it works, it holds.”
Valeria soon faces unthinkable circumstances, worse than anything she could’ve imagined. Will her faith fail…or prevail?
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” –Winston Churchill
She recounts her journey in Anchor of Last Hope (no spoilers here):
“A storm had crashed into my vessel…a (breeze) whipped into a monster cyclone, and I had no idea how long the lashing of wind and waves could go on. But I had to trust in a love that anchored and secured me even though unseen, a love so unfailing that its gossamer links held me with the strength of steel cords… I had to…stand firm in the confidence that He could not lie…
“That anchor held, in a peace past understanding, in a hope that endured beyond hope… If my stubborn mind had absorbed any lesson at all, the most important was that my only security was anchored in God, not in my wisdom or willpower, not in passion or talent or resolve. I couldn’t meet my every need nor handle every curveball life threw. I needed Him and—a bit late—I realized I needed the other people in my life too.”
When the Cables Strain
Our good God sometimes allows life to smash us so that He can move into those broken places, heal and transform us, and fill us with Himself. Like Valeria, when my shaky foundations are strained and my self-confidence flustered, I develop more compassion for others. When I “see” my blindness and unbelief, my vision can be restored. Rooting out the idols of cash, comfort, and control allows me to rest in the true security of the Solid Rock. My anchor holds.
“When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.” –Edward Mote
This old hymn reflects on the refuge of hope mentioned in Hebrews 6:18-20. The “veil” the writer refers to is the curtain which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Jewish temple. It symbolizes the person of Jesus Christ, whose death made possible our confident approach into the presence of God. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast” (v. 19, NASB).
“Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, When the clouds unfold their wings of strife? When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain, Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?
“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 Owen
Grounded Firm and Deep
In times like these, a thick curtain sometimes prevents us from seeing God’s reality beyond the clouds of situations. Yet the prophet Isaiah assures us: “…(God) will be the stability of your times…” (Is. 33:6, ESV).
When our anchor holds, our perspective changes on every circumstance in this present world. We can live in the hope of eternal life and the security of ultimate safe arrival because our faith “is the victory that has overcome the world” (I Jn. 5:4, NASB).
One day God will sweep the clouds away. He’ll flip over the veil of history to the side visible only to Him now. We’ll see how every strand of the timeline amazingly wove together for His glory.
“Some things a person can’t ever know till the hard moments come. I can’t predict my emotions and reactions in the storms, whether I’ll respond the right way or do the right things or act strong and mature, but I’m certain of one thing now. I know I’m clinging to the right anchor.” –Diana Delacruz, Anchor of Last Hope
Dear friend, hold to the truth you know. And be sure, be very sure.
Lord, don’t take me home… until I too can sing—even shout— “My anchor holds and grips the solid Rock!”