We all need something to hold on to. Someone to lean on.
Heb 6:19 (NIV) says that; “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become the high priest forever, in the order of Milchizedek.”
In Christian iconography (symbols that represent Christian truths), hope is symbolized by an anchor, and usually associated symbols are a heart and a cross.
When referring to hope as an anchor, we picture the anchor designed as heavy, with plough like arms, or spades. Its purpose is to get a firm hold or grip onto something, usually a rock, or a bedrock under the sea floor. It hooks onto this, to stop the ship from floating off course. The anchor does this on the ships behalf, because not doing it would result in the ship being lost at sea, or damaged, or wrecked.
The design and purpose of the anchor, symbolises what we need when we encounter a storm in life. We need to have something to hold onto so that we do not get lost, damaged or perish. We do not want to get swept away and find ourselves off our original course that we wanted to be on. Hebrew describes this something to hold onto in life; as an anchor of hope.
Now in a storm the worst thing that could happen to a ship, is that the anchor does not find a lodging, or a firm grip on the sea bed. This is referred to as “dragging the anchor” and the ship is then tossed about on the surface, while the anchor drags the floor of the sea, looking for a firm grip. The loss of anchor causes anxiety for those on the ship, not knowing where or what the winds, waves, swells and currents could do to them. They know that a secure anchor would be safer and they would be more likely to find their course again quite soon, an important asset to the life and livelihood of a ship.
Hebrews describes where the lodging of the anchor of hope is, the “inner sanctuary”, the very presence of God (behind the veil in the temple, where only High Priests could enter, the most Holy of Holies). I understand this to mean that my anchor of hope is right beneath the eyes of the Lord in heaven, where the Jesus Himself has entered and intercedes on our behalf. (Romans 8:26, Heb 4:14-16).
With Jesus, our Rock, tending to our anchor, I can count on it in a storm. He is ensuring it will be “firm and secure” since His integrity upholds it. When our hope drifts away from WHO God is and WHAT God can do, our hope (anchor) starts to loosen and drag along.
When we believers encourage one another, we often say: “Just have faith.” But I want to suggest that faith is useless without hope. Let me illustrate, we can have all the faith (belief) that God can move a mountain, (Matt 17:20), but having the expectation that God CAN and WILL move a mountain if we ask Him, that is hope. The hope is focused on Him, not our belief which can be pretty fickle. Faith is defined in Heb 11:1 as, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
It seems that hope is the FOUNDATION upon which faith is built on.
Let us encourage each other’s hope in the Lord and in so doing build up faith. (Rom 5:1-5) I have found that as I spend some time remembering WHO God is and WHAT He is capable of, and translating it into my current situation, I find a new anchor for hope and it forms the foundation of new faith based prayer. (Mark 4:35-41)
Let us encourage each other in our hope.
A dear friend came up with an acronym for HOPE: He Opens Possibilities Everyday. When her family was going through a tough time, she put this above all the doors in her house, especially those doors that exited to the outside world. It was a reminder to her family to expect God to make things happen and that anything was possible.
What are you expecting God to do? Are you expecting Him to be in control, to work in a situation, to provide for you, to make a way, to create opportunity, to enable breakthrough…The point is not so much about what you are expecting, but more that your heart is expecting because your hope is anchored in Him.
Below are the words of an old hymn called “My Hope is Built” by Edward Mote (1997-1894). I have been meditating on the words lately as I face my own storms, I like two phrases in the song: “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness,” and that sure statement: “My anchor holds within the veil.”
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
When Darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, his blood
supports me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.
When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found!
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne!
This also exists in a more modern version called “Cornerstone”, rewritten under the leadership of Reuben Morgan of Hillsong. Have a listen. (http://worshiptogether.com/songs/songdetail.aspx?iid=1908027)
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Now hope is a theme we probably do not hear enough of spoken from the pulpit or even at Bible study, it’s always about faith or the lack there of. Yet if we understand the role of hope in our lives (it is our anchor that holds us steady), it gives new perspective to our circumstances. Instead of checking in on our faith gauge, we need to be checking our hope gauge.
So agree. If we can get everyone’s hope guage up I think the world would be a different place.