The meteorologists sought to prepare us for the worst, in the hope that it wouldn’t be the worst. And for us in Ontario, Hurricane Sandy was not the worst. (Those of sufficient vintage to remember Hurricane Hazel will attest to that.) Nevertheless, for our American friends on the eastern seaboard, Sandy has left incredible damage in her wake. Two families who lost loved ones in Toronto and Sarnia on account of this storm, along with many other families in the northeastern United States and many places in the Caribbean, are walking in the valley of the shadow of death in these days because of an unusual weather phenomenon, and they need our prayers.
Beyond the weather, however, we all face storms in life. They may not leave downed tree limbs or torn-off roofs, but they do leave scars of their own: broken marriages, estranged children, disappointment, broken promises, litanies of what could have been. None of us is immune to these storms if we choose to live in relationship with others. I am reminded of the old gospel hymn:
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 don’t have to be out on a boat to appreciate what this means. A boat anchor, of course, is as important as a bailing bucket for those who navigate rough waters. An anchor, though, can be deemed to be more important, because it will keep the boat firm, in one place, provided it is a strong enough anchor. A twenty-pound anchor won’t do much good in keeping a cruise ship in place; something more effective is needed. So too in life: we need the right anchor to keep our lives rooted and grounded when we’re weathering a storm. What do we use as an anchor in our lives, when stormy seas become the reality of life for us, even if we are landlubbers? The refrain of the hymn gives us an answer:
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.
No matter the storm, when Jesus is our anchor, we can make it through whatever storms we encounter in this life. Jesus is not merely our anchor, of course; he is our Saviour, our Lord, our Friend. Jesus does not simply serve as a crutch when we’re limping, or as a tie-down when our earthly tent is blowing in the wind. Jesus enriches our lives here, and now. He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10.10, NIV). Jesus not only saves us in the storm, he keeps us and augments our lives in the good times, too. When we hold firm in Jesus our Anchor when times are good, we will have absolute trust and confidence when times are stormier.
At any and all times of life, we can call out with the Psalmist: “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the Rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61.2, NIV).
In the midst of any storm, whether a hurricane or a family crisis, stay fastened to the Rock which cannot move. Be grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.