A few years ago Melanie and I were sailing alone when we came to a small island where we wanted to spend the night. Normally we would pick up a mooring ball, where we would tie off our boat to secure it for the night. These mooring balls are set in concrete which are securely anchored at the bottom of the ocean. When a boat is tied off to one of them, nothing can move it.
It was late enough in the day that we couldn’t find a mooring ball because too many other boats had arrived ahead of us. Because of the hour I was hesitant to start out for another place to spend the night, so we decided to set anchor where we were. In the few years we had been sailing, we hadn’t gained confidence that we were able to successfully set the anchor so that it would hold firmly. We had been taught how to do so when we took our certification classes, but still lacked confidence.
My fears caused me to imagine what would happen if the anchor pulled loose during the middle of the night. We could drift and bump into other boats around us. I wasn’t worried so much about doing damage to ours or another boat as much as I didn’t want to look like I didn’t know what I was doing (which wasn’t totally without truth). Another possibility was that we might drift from where we were to the water’s edge and find ourselves on the nearby reef.
We set the anchor. Then for awhile I sat in one spot on deck, lining up a point on the boat with an object on land to make sure that we weren’t drifting. Everything appeared to be okay, but I still wasn’t easy about it. We took our dinghy ashore to have dinner, but throughout the whole meal I kept watching our boat to make sure she was still in the same place.
That night when we went below to sleep, I jerked awake almost every time I felt any movement on the boat that seemed unusual. I even got up and went up on deck four or five times during the night and checked the anchor to make sure it was still secure. It was a long night with brief moments of sleep.
When the sun came up the next day, I checked the anchor again. It hadn’t moved at all. Everything had been fine. My fears and apprehension had been unfounded.
I thought about that experience later and began to see how much that experience reflected my attitude in life at times. There we were, in a beautiful Caribbean setting, but I didn’t really enjoy it that evening or night. I can’t even remember what I ate at the restaurant where we had dinner. I don’t remember the sunset that evening. I didn’t enjoy the gentle sway of the boat in the water, rocking me to sleep. I was too worried, focused on what might happen if the anchor didn’t hold.
Hebrews 6:19 teaches that our hope in Christ is an “anchor for the soul” to those who believe in Him. Despite that promise, there have been times in my life when I couldn’t fully enjoy being where God had put me because of fears – fears of drifting out of His will, fears about dangers I thought I could see on the horizon, fears about looking like I didn’t know what I was doing. Fear robs us of the joy of the journey known as “the Christian life.” It causes us to believe that our own safety is up to us, not God. It will make us act like we are the ones who must be in control.
Jesus Christ is the anchor of your soul. Don’t needlessly fret about the details of life. You belong to God and there is nothing that can force you to crash on the rocks. You are secure because He is secure. Trust Christ in every circumstance. Then relax. Enjoy the sunset. Savor the flavor of life. Rest, knowing that “in every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.”