“Amidst the confusion of the times, the conflicts of conscience, and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives.”—Thomas Monson – American Clergyman
This week, a storm of immense proportions hit the Northeastern part of the US. Lake-effect snow rose to over 6 feet (80 inches) in some places leaving people essentially buried in their homes. Being from Philadelphia, I’ve shoveled my share of snow, but to try to shove yourself out when the height is beyond that of an SUV…I would have to set down somewhere and wait till the storm passes—that’s a Word for someone. Maybe it’s an indicator of climate change, but it’s definitely a reminder that overwhelming storms will periodically come into our lives.Still, as sure as we know that in a few weeks all the snow will be gone and things will return to ‘normal’—storms do pass. There was over 100 years between The Spanish Flu and COVID-19.
The Bible talks a lot about storms. God’s judgment on the world’s wickedness in Genesis 6-9 was a storm/flood of epidemic proportions—destroying everything and everyone except Noah and his family. In Mark 4:35-41 Jesus was out on a boat with His disciples crossing over ‘to the other side.’ He was on the way to the region of the Gadarenes where in Mark 5 He freed a man possessed with so many demons that they named themselves Legion. They asked Jesus not to make them leave the territory,but to let them depart from the man and go into a herd of pigs. He allowed it. The man who was delivered told the story to everyone in the surrounding towns. Perhaps the storm that’s raging in your life isn’t really about you, but about the freedom you’re about to bring somewhere or to someone through Christ.
In Acts 27, Paul was on assignment to go to Rome and speak to Ceasar. The enemy tried to prevent him from reaching his destination and accomplishing his purpose. Paul was on a ship and warned the crew that the voyage was going to be disastrous, but they decided to sail on. A giant storm ensued. They set anchor, but all of the contents of the ship had to be thrown overboard. Those in the storm all thought this was it for them. Paul said, “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.” Paul was bold because he knew his assignment had to be completed. For 14 nights the storm raged on, Verse 29 says, “Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.” Sometimes you have to drop anchor and pray that the storm will pass. They eventually tried to cut the anchors and go on, but the ship ran aground and was destroyed. You can’t go when God says no. Some jumped ship, but those who believed Paul’s words were saved, floating to shore holding onto ‘broken pieces” of the ship. You are going to survive this storm.
One of my favorite Gospel songs is Douglas Miller’s My Soul Has Been Anchored In The Lord, “Though the storms keep on raging in my life, and sometimes it’s hard to tell the night from day. Still that hope that lies within is reassured, as I keep my eyes upon the distant shore, I know He’ll lead me safely to that blessed place He has prepared. But if the storms don’t cease, and if the winds keep on blowing in my life. My soul has been anchored in the Lord.” Hebrews 6:19 says that the hope we have in God’s unchangeable promise through Jesus Christ is the “anchor for our souls.” Shout out to Bishop Gregory V. Palmer!