This year’s women’s retreat was wonderful on so many different levels. As a relative newcomer to Grace I particularly enjoyed the fellowship of making a few new relationships with women that I hope to worship with for a long time to come.
The main topic of the retreat was anchoring our faith in Jesus Christ. When the storms of life hit hard and seem come at you from every direction how can you know that your anchor will hold? Understanding how a boat is securely anchored provides a profound metaphor.
Anchoring a boat in a tidal area, or at sea, is an obvious necessity that no experienced boater would ever take for granted. It is normal for a storm to suddenly appear and for the prevailing currents and winds to change. Boaters familiar with being in these waters never take this for granted and are always prepared for the unexpected to happen… simply because they expect that it will… but, what if you are on a lake without a current?
Let’s start by asking the simple question, “Why anchor my boat?” If you are fishing on a lake… there is no current and you run little risk of drifting into danger, right? Hmm… and yet…the slightest of barely detectable breezes can move a boat so subtly that you may not even notice how far you have been moved from your original location… hmmm…
Life Lesson No 1: Comfort breeds complacency.
The day is calm, all appears well, and the fish are biting! Woo Hoo! Take caution and be aware of your surroundings. Enjoy the moment but realize that it is possible to be adrift without even noticing. UH OH!
Now, let’s talk about how a boat is anchored:
First, and most importantly, you must discern the direction of an ‘opposing force.’ When boating, this opposing force is wind and/or current. Before you drop anchor it is vitally important that you head directly into the opposing force. If you do not face the opposing force prior to dropping anchor this force will carry the boat around causing it to collide with other boats, sand bars, or reefs in the vicinity.
I have seen this happen on multiple occasions by inexperienced boaters that did not anchor their boat properly. Most of the time the swing caused by the current or wind was so subtle they had no idea that they were even drifting around until they collided with another boat or found themselves stuck on a sandbar. Oops!
To make things worse, when you place your anchor improperly and the opposing force swings your boat around, your anchor will no longer have the directional grip needed to keep the boat in a general location. The anchor will loosen then drag, allowing you to be carried off. It will remain in the sand simply because you dropped it but it will not keep you steady and will follow the boat wherever the current carries it. It is important to note that you will drag your anchor around with you and that your anchor will not leave you just because you are adrift!
Life Lesson No. 2: When boating, the opposing current/wind is not something that is feared; it is purely something that we use as a ‘guide’ for properly placing our anchor to keep us steady.
I believe that God gives us these metaphors to help us understand how to apply his word to our hearts, how to anchor ourselves properly to him.
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,” (Hebrews 6:19).
In real life, we have a tendency to dread opposing forces. Why is this? I mean… golly, we have been told over and over again in Scripture to ‘fear not!’ We have been reassured that fear is not from God, and yet we quickly and readily accept it and allow ourselves to be carried by its current.
We all want to place our anchor in such a manner that it will hold us during the storms of life. But do we? Do we fearlessly head into the opposing force and properly drop anchor or do we react to the sudden storm and drop anchor right where we are causing us to drag our anchor behind us?
Initial fear may be legitimate and catch us by surprise, but hanging on to it and allowing it to direct our course is a choice. When we anchor ourselves properly in Christ we have the ability to recognize that opposing forces are going to happen and they are normal. Like a current, they are nothing to dread or fear. When we reach that place where we can move forward with something uncomfortable and trust God for the outcome regardless of what the outcome is, this is when we can know for certain that we have placed our anchor securely and properly in God.
Do not accept the fear that comes with a sudden storm, rebuke it (over and over again if necessary), place your trust in God – not for the outcome that YOU desire but for the outcome that God has planned. Know that, in the end, God has your best interests at heart, whatever that may be!
When we can place that kind of trust in God we can face the opposing force and also know that our anchor is properly placed and it will hold. This kind of faith is a ‘muscle’ that grows stronger the more it is used and trained. Let’s get out those dumbbells and start working that muscle! I for one, do not want to be dragging my anchor around adrift in the current of life!