Anchor of Hope

Just then a light wind began blowing from the south, and it looked like a perfect day for the trip; so they pulled up anchor and sailed close to shore.

But shortly afterwards, the weather changed abruptly and a heavy wind of typhoon strength (a "northeaster," they called it) caught the ship and blew it out to sea. They tried at first to face back to shore but couldn't, so they gave up and let the ship run before the gale.

We finally sailed behind a small island named Clauda, where with great difficulty we hoisted abroad the lifeboat that was being towed behind us, and then banded the ship with ropes to strengthen the hull. The sailors were afraid of being driven across to the quicksands of the African coast, so they lowered the topsails and were thus driven before the wind.

The next day as he seas grew higher, the crew began to throw the cargo overboard. The following day they threw out the tackle and anything else they could lay their hands on. The terrible storm raged unabated many days until at last all hope was gone.

No one had eaten for a long time, but finally Paul called the crew together and said, "Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Fair Havens - you would have avoided all this injury and loss! But cheer up! Not one of us will lose our lives, even though the ship will go down.

"For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and said, 'Don't be afraid, Paul - for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What's more, God has granted your request and will save the lives of all those sailing with you.' So take courage! For I believe God! It will be just as he said! But we will be shipwrecked on an island."

At this rate they knew they would be driven ashore, and fearing rocks along the coast, they threw out four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. Acts 27: 13-26; 29 (TLB)

The apostle Paul had been arrested and was sailing to Rome, accompanied by nearly three hundred people, when they ended up in a horrible storm. They were helpless and fearful, and disaster was waiting beyond the next wave.

In the middle of their struggles, an angel of the Lord appeared to Paul and promised that all of them would be saved. Those words gave Paul hope and became an anchor for the soul, even stronger than the anchors of the ship. As we read in Hebrews 6:19, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."

God is trustworthy in all situations. None of us can avoid storms in life. When we encounter difficulties, we may try to find our anchor in money, good health, or a secure job. But we always have an invisible anchor available: Jesus Christ. He went through an unimaginable storm on the cross and rose again to be with us. Let us learn to rest in Christ, the anchor of our souls. By Esa-Pekka Mattila (Finland)

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your faithfulness. Help us to trust in the anchor your hope provides for us as we go thru the storms of life, in Jesus; name. Amen.

Ancient anchors (rocks) from the Sea of Galilee

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