Sleep on This: Hope as our anchor
Good evening, friend!
As you’ve driven across the new Narrows Bridge, you could not have helped noticing the cable anchorage on the west side. This monstrous, MONSTROUS structure, a small part of which is visible above ground, secures the enormous suspension cables in place. Each of these monoliths consists of 22,000 cubic yards of concrete and 1 million pounds of reinforcing steel. The total weight of just one of these behemoths comes in at—wait for it— 81 MILLION pounds. It beggars the imagination, doesn’t it?
But it is definitely not overkill! We have driven across that bridge when the warning signs flashed, “Watch for high winds”—and they were! And Cyndi and I were trapped In Tacoma one night when an ice storm coated the bridge with tons of frozen decoration, dropping deadly shards onto the road surface below. The buffeting winds, the treacherous currents below, the massive weight of both bridge and occupants—it NEEDS an anchor that is immoveable no matter the conditions.
Each evening this week we have simmered in the Biblical virtue of Hope. Remember, Biblical hope is not a “wish” or a “dream.” It is the confident assurance of something that has not yet transpired based upon the past faithfulness of God. Last night I wrote about the image of hope as a strong cable; something we can cling to confidently even when we feel like we are losing our footing.
Tonight I want to share another favorite New Testament hope metaphor. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews urges his readers to “—hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul—” (Hebrews 6:18-19)
Here we discover that biblical hope is not only a confidently hoped-for future, it is also the ballast that stabilizes us in our present moment, regardless of the forces that buffet and strain. Hope is the “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul—” Sure—steadfast—anchor—aren’t those words we need to claim in these moments when every day seems to bring shifting news, uncertain forecasts and anxiety?
Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most powerful “hope” scriptures in the Bible.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
It is interesting to me how so many commentators on this passage chastise those who claim its promise because “they are taking it out of context.” It is true that this promise was offered originally to the Hebrew exiles in Babylon. God was promising them a future that was more hopeful than their present. But are not we in Christ as surely God’s “chosen” people? And is it presumptuous for us to believe that God’s ultimate plans for us are good, not evil? A hope-filled future? If we do not believe that, ultimately, God’s love and grace will win out over every form of evil, including this virus, then what DO we believe and what good is it?
I know, I know—we can still be of two minds. Alexander Pope, an 18th century English poet, once penned, “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” That’s a downer! But, on a better day, he also wrote, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” “Hope springs eternal—.” THAT instinct is WAY more Christian!
We have every reason to expect great things—to long for and look for a great future—to believe that God intends ultimate good for us even when—especially when—we are tossed by the storms of life. And THAT hope is a steadfast and steady anchor for our souls.
Lord, as I lay me down to sleep, would you remind me that, no matter the winds that buffet and swirl about me, my soul is anchored in the hope you have offered to me through my Savior, Jesus. Help me to rest well, trusting that you will never be moved—nor will I when I am bound to you. Amen.