The first lesson of wing walking (apparently) is to make sure that before releasing your anchor grip from one position that the next is secure.
And yet you’d be surprised how many people we have to mop up.
It’s a problem described in Hebrews 6. It comes in the terms that the writer uses to describe the vital importance of hope in our lives as followers of Jesus. Here it is:
“We may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…”
Make sure you get a good grip of that hope!
The ones who are “encouraged” are those “who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before [them].” They have let go of something in order to lay hold of something. What’s that? It’s “the hope set before us.” What have they fled from? It is something that threatens us. We need to flee from it as we would something that threatens our safety. But we don’t just run anywhere: We flee to the hope set before us. We are not yet there, because it is set before us. But it is there, because it is set before us. Therefore, it is certain.
This letting go and taking hold has already taken place in the lives of the people the writer is describing. He is describing what they have already done. And those who have done this then have this hope as “an anchor of the soul.” Who are these people? The writer says that “we” have this anchor – evidently, he and his readers, the followers of Jesus.
All of us who have come to Christ, then, have taken refuge in the hope set before us. We may not appreciate the hope the way we should, but it is still there, and it is still ours. And it has given us – and we have – an anchor for our souls. Our problem may be, then, as with so many of our problems, that we don’t realize what we have, that we don’t realize the dimension of the hope, that we don’t realize that we have an anchor.
But when the wind gets up, its necessity will become more evident!
It’s an anchor in heaven. That’s the hope set before us. That’s what enables us to stand form (and even enjoy the ride!). Without it everything becomes terrifying, precarious and we are blown over by every fresh wind. The anchor is our hope. Our future hope, then, has some kind of steadying influence in the present.
If we have an anchor in heaven, that means we can deal with our restlessness on earth. We are restless because nothing works the way we want it to. If we think our anchor is in this world, our restlessness will never end. We’ll keep looking for a place to drop anchor, and when we find it, it will disappoint us, and we’ll move on to the next place. We’ll wander from place to place, job to job, person to person, church to church – always looking for something better, always looking for some harbor worthy of our anchor. That was Cain’s curse, by the way. He was a “vagrant and a wanderer on earth” (Genesis 4:12), without a heavenly anchor that allowed earthly relationships.
We have an anchor for our souls. Our inner life is at rest with the knowledge that all will be well one day, that it doesn’t have to be well this day and that we can drop our earthly anchors in stormy harbours. What God has promised in the past about our future in heaven gives us stability in the present.
Anchoring is a metaphor: it doesn’t mean stasis. It is “hope” which always reaches forward.
Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don’t you often hope: ‘May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.’ But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death.
But we have an anchor. It keeps us from drift. It is a hope both”sure and steadfast.”
It means that all is well. You’re safe.