Last year, I spent almost two weeks with my son, Jeff, on his sailboat as we traveled down the Intracoastal Waterway. You can read more about our adventures in earlier blog posts here and here. Being a novice to the nautical world I learned a lot about boating and sailing on this trip. Even though the purpose of boating is to move distances over the water, a critical aspect of most trips aboard a vessel is the art of anchoring. I knew very little about anchors except that they were heavy, and I realized weight was only part of the formula.
There definitely is more to the science of anchoring than meets the eye. To achieve the best anchoring results, anchors should be matched to the type of bottom that exists under the boat. Anchors should first be attached to a length of heavy chain, then the chain is attached to a longer rope called the rode. The idea behind the chain is to cause the anchor line to lie on the bottom so the flukes of the anchor burrow into the bottom when the weight of the boat pulls on the line. The length of the rode and chain together which is deployed must be at least 5 times the depth in which the boat is anchored, and up to 10 times the depth in heavy conditions. For added security a second and even a third anchor can be deployed. And to add a final bit of insurance against the potential of breaking loose, you can use a GPS system that has an anchor alarm function. When the program is enabled, an alarm will sound if the boat moves beyond defined limits.
Obviously, the purpose of anchors is to keep the boat from moving when the captain does not want it to move. But the deeper purpose is peace of mind. When Jeff and I were faced with a decision whether to anchor in a fairly protected cove as Hurricane Sandy’s tropical winds approached, or to seek harbor at a marina, we chose the marina because we were not sure we had adequate anchor gear to weather the storm. Staying at a marina was certainly more expensive, but it provided much more serenity. We also ate much better at the marina than we would have otherwise, but that’s another story.
The Bible says that hope is like an anchor:
Therefore, we who have fled to him (God) for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
(Hebrews 6: 18b-19a, NLT)
What is the “hope that lies before us?” The writer of Hebrews explains that, because God had promised ultimate good to those who trust in Him, and because it is impossible for God to lie, this gives us the assurance and security we will be recipients of His blessings both now and in eternity. Like an anchor, this hope can hold us secure in the midst of the storms swirling around us each day. Instead of trusting the opinions of fallible men that change as often as the weather, we can set our anchors in the solid ground of God’s word. These lines from the hymn “The Solid Rock” say it well:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
~ Edward Mote
If you are experiencing “tropical storm” conditions in your life, and your anchor alarm is squealing, perhaps you should consider where you have set your anchor. Only the Lord Jesus Christ provides the firm foundation that gives the hope of eternal security.