Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:17-19 NIV
Ropes…Have you ever stopped to consider the many different types of ropes? There are large, heavy ropes used in shipping and manufacturing, there are lifesaving ropes used during rescue operations and those seeking adventure through repelling and rock climbing. With each type of rope there is innumerable uses, knots and activities. As my father would often say, “you must have the right tool for the job.”
Let’s first consider… Shipping and boating use huge ropes which are masses of smaller ropes used to keep an enormous shipping vessel in place. These mooring ropes are very effective when secured to dockside anchors keeping the vessel in place, even during violent storms. The ropes may also attach the anchor to a boat and tether down important equipment to keep it from being swept overboard.
The topic of ropes makes me consider: To what am I tethered? Where do I get my strength? What or who secures me in this world of uncertainty? My head and my heart will give you the Sunday School answer, “Jesus.” Unfortunately, more frequently my actions will demonstrate that my security depends on my ability to hold on long enough or tight enough to the end of that rope. I struggle to control my situations and environments in order to provide the results I desire.
What if I were to open my hands and surrender control to the One who has all things in His nail-pierce hands? If I submit, will Christ hold me fast? Isn't that really the question? I am so busy trying to hold onto my quality of life, keep my children safe, my bank account in the black, my job in organized, etc., etc. I must be the best wife, mother, sister, friend, neighbor, teacher, manager, employee, blah, blah, blah… Really?
Like the ropes securing the boat to the dock, it is easy to be submissive when everything is fine when winds are calm, water smooth, and I am safe and secure in the harbor. Conversely, what happens when we are in the middle of the sea?
The gospel of Matthew tells the story of Jesus walking on the water, you know the story. The storm came up quickly; the disciples struggled to keep afloat. Along came the Savior walking on the water. Immediately Jesus spoke to the disciples and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid." (Matthew 14:22-33 NIV) Peter bails out of the boat, sees the wind, becomes afraid and starts to sink, then cries out for help. Jesus puts him back in the boat then He climbs into the boat with them, and the wind died down.
There are nearly 100 instances in Scripture where God specifically tells us, "do not be afraid." Maybe He wants us to know something? I don't know about you, but there have been a couple of times in my life when the storm was raging, around me, and I could appreciate how scared the disciples were, holding on for dear life. Time after time, Jesus walks into the situation and everything becomes calm, so why am I ever fearful? Really, when will I learn? Well, atleast I am in good company...If we back up a little in Matthew, we will discover an earlier, stormy boat ride:
Then He got into the boat and his disciples followed Him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:23-27 NIV
My life will not always be sitting safely in the harbor, nor will I always have the safety of the dock to secure myself to, but I will always have the Savior who calms the storms with a word. Anchor yourself to the One who doesn't require a rope to hold you, be willing to leave the safety of the harbor in order to experience the greatness of your Savior, then watch what He will do with your tiny bit of faith.
Sweet Savior, hold me fast and secure. Help me not depend on the mooring ropes and other tangible things when I am afraid or overwhelmed, but let me rest in Your Presence and assurance, which I cannot visibly see. Grow my faith, calm my fears, help me walk on the water to Your heart, so You may be glorified in all I do and say. I ask this in the Name above all Names, Jesus Christ who reigns with Yahweh in heaven with the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen