I started to scribble out these thoughts while sitting on the porch of a cabin in Perkins Cove, Maine. Some friends connected me with a family there who offers up their “studio”, right on the water, to people serving in ministry to use for a few days of retreat.
Olive and I spent three nights there in May--a sort of post-spring, pre-summer retreat.
On my second day there, I woke up too early...but I did manage to catch this.
As I sat on that porch later in the day, the sweet springtime sun on my skin, I listened to the sailors, busy at work on their ships; I watched the unmanned boats drift ever so slightly in the cove. It brought me to a familiar passage in Hebrews which describes our faith as an anchor.
“And now we have run into his heart to hide ourselves in his faithfulness. This is where we find his strength and comfort, for he empowers us to seize what has already been established ahead of time—an unshakeable hope! We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat which sits in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold, and where Jesus, our forerunner, has gone in before us. He is now and forever our royal Priest like Melchizedek.” - Hebrews 6:19-20, The Passion Translation
I guess that I’ve never really thought much about how an anchor works. I mean, it isn’t that complicated but I’ve never really used one. The anchor is fixed to a static point yet doesn’t keep the thing it is anchoring completely static. The anchor cable, the line tying the boat to the anchor, allows for changes in the tide, for water rising and falling.
I think that as the water has risen and fallen, as I’ve felt myself drift along life, as the waves have pulled me to the furthest reaches of my anchor’s cable, I’ve been paralyzed with the fear that it won’t hold, that my faith isn’t true or pure.
Lately, I’ve been confused because I’ve felt disappointed. Disappointment is a feeling which which I am well acquainted. I feel it towards myself often; I can never do enough or be enough.
But this disappointment has been different, this feeling foreign. It’s been not directed towards myself, but towards my life and I suppose towards my God. And I know what they will say, what you will say: Jesus never promised easy. I just don’t understand so much of what is or isn’t happening in my life.
It’s brought fear because I don’t understand the things that I’m thinking or feeling, the impulses and fears that I am experiencing. It’s brought shame because I don’t know what to do with them.
And I haven’t doubted, and yet I have asked
Is He really good?
Is He really working all things together?
My life often feels composed entirely of frayed threads. The weaving together feels impossible.
But here I am, looking over water, feeling like I’ve been pulled to my very limit, and yet the anchor holds. A boat never strays too far, never wanders for too long. And as it reaches its end, it is already pulling back towards the anchor.
I love the way that The Passion Translation frames this: “we have run into his heart to hide ourselves in his faithfulness.”
Even when it feels like we’re drifting, we’re still tightly secured.
Drifting, gusting winds, shifting sands--they are the reasons that trees have roots, that houses are built on foundations, that boats have anchors. It’s the reason that God grants us and grows in us faith. It is holding, He is holding.