Four Anchors of Life
The shipwreck of Paul and his company as they were enroute to Rome is recorded in the 27th chapter of Acts. This was but one of the many harrowing experiences he suffered in his service to Christ. Of course, the sailors did all in their power to prevent a disaster, but without avail. When doom seemed inevitable they finally "let go four anchors from the stern, and wished for the day" (Acts 27:29).
Apparently this ship was well prepared for trouble Four trusty anchors weighed at the stern. These were needless and useless when the weather was fair and the going was good. But what a blessing they proved to be when the tempests blew and the vessel was threatened upon, the rocks of the Melita coast.
Human souls, like ships, are riding upon the "sea of life." Our course is set and we are making our way toward the distant shore. For most of us the weather is fair, the sea is calm and the sailing is smooth. But let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that it will always thus be. Somewhere upon, the sea of life there is always a storm raging and a tempest blowing. In every tempest and in every storm, ships are rolling and tossing. Some will outride the storm and finally drop anchor in "The haven of rest," while others will break up,upon the waves and the rocks and go down to despair and ruin.
Surely, for us the question is not, shall we sail the sea of life? Sail it we must. Neither is it a question of whether or not we will encounter storms. They are inescapable. The urgent question is this: Do we, like the ship upon which Paul sailed, have trusty anchors waiting and ready to do their work when the need arises.
There are four anchors with which every human vessel needs to be equipped. The first one is an unfaltering
Without faith in, God "it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him" (Heb. 11:6). The remainder of this chapter gives example after example of men who lived and triumphed by unfaltering faith in God. And, where there is real faith in God, there is faith, trust and confidence in His word. Such will believe and obey everything that the Bible records or enjoins upon them. They will abide in its teaching and refuse to go forward upon the wisdom of men, regardless of how celebrated they may be. Although our feeble minds may stagger at the profundity of His teaching, or even its simplicity, let us believe it and be governed by it. Where faith is as it should be, there will be complete obedience to God. "Faith without works is dead" (Jas. 2:26).
Prayer is another anchor which may well stay us in the hour of trial. "Prayer is the power that moves the hand that moves the universe." In prayer, the Christian speaks to God. No day should begin or close without it. His we are and Him we serve. Nothing short of presumption would allow us to live without prayer. Jesus, our example, taught that we "ought always to pray, and not to faint." Read Luke 18:1-8. Truly, "more things are wrought by prayer than this world ever dreams of."
Paul exhorted young Timothy to hold "a good conscience; which some having thrust from them made shipwreck concerning the faith" (I Tim. 1:19). Certainly, to discard or overlook this anchor is disastrous. Honesty of heart and sincerity of purpose are indispensable. The one who knows the truth, but holds it not with a good conscience is condemned in the sight of God. Neither, of course, can sincerity and conscientiousness approve one before God if it is not related and devoted to the truth of God. Let us continually rely upon God's word to teach us the truth, and having learned it, let us hold to it with a good conscience.
Another anchor is that of hope-a hope that is confident that God will keep his promises. We have "strong encouragement" in that God's counsel is unchangeable and that it is impossible for Him to lie. His promises concerning the future can, be entertained with the same certainty with which we believe the happenings of the past. This blessed hope is "an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast" (Heb. 6:19). The winds and the waves may roar; our frail vessels may toss and tumble in the tempest, but if "we have our hope set on the living God," then we will outride the storm and finally land in the "glory land."
My fellow voyager, how are your anchors? You had better check them and be sure that they are in place and ready for a time of trouble. You will need them before the voyage is ended.
Truth Magazine I:11, pp. 1, 20