Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Hope that defies the storm

Imagine this with me... 
A great galleon has battened down and stowed its sails amidst the tearing winds and driving rain of a raging storm. As the winds roar and the ship rises and falls upon the heavy seas, a stout chain of impressive length glimmers in the spray as it vanishes beneath the angry waves. Deep below, in the dark and muted waters, at the other end of that massive chain is an ancient sea anchor, a mass of tempered steel, that firmly grips the ocean floor. Back at the tumultuous surface of the sea, the boat’s crew is safely below deck, eager for the abatement of the storm, though confident that their anchor in the depths below will keep them safely parted from where the rushing waves loudly crash upon a rocky shore.

It’s a scene of great noise and upheaval. Furious winds, heaving waves, and creaking masts. But in the depths beneath the waves, amidst a reassuring stillness, that long slowly swaying chain of steel leads to an immense unflinching hook, steadfast in its tireless hold despite the storm above. This immovable anchor represents the life-sustaining hope that we can have in a covenant-keeping God who has shown us through Jesus how far He will go to keep His promises to a rebellious human race. It is a hope “both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19a).

But look back with me again to that great galleon in the storm. Every sailor on that ship, however certain they may be of their trusty anchor, will still be feeling rattled and storm-tossed by the heaving waves (and maybe even a little sea-sick). So I’m thankful that the writer of Hebrews provides an additional metaphor of the hope we have in God.

Imagine being aboard that ship amidst such stormy winds and rain, enduring the constant turbulence and tumult, and then suddenly!... All the noise and motion abruptly cease even as the storm outside continues to roar. It’s as if all disruption aboard the ship has suddenly been forcefully evicted from your cabin by an overpowering Presence of peace and awe while at that same moment, you sense you’re not alone. Someone Great but quite unseen feels very near. You also see that you’re now standing inside a curtain that stretches from floor to roof creating a small private chamber with just enough room for you and the wonderful Presence that has suddenly given you complete peace and stability amidst the storm.

Welcome to the “inner place behind the curtain” (Hebrews 6:19b, ESV) — the holiest place of all the holy places in the Old Testament tabernacle — where only the high priest could enter, and only after great sacrifice and ceremony. It was the place of God’s presence — a place of intimate communion with the living God, but also a place of fear and dread as sinner-priests drew near to a holy God. But with Jesus having taken the penalty for all our sins upon Himself, God now invites us to find a reassuring hope in our loving communion with Him behind that veil, whatever storms may rage all around it.

So anchor your soul in what Jesus did for us on the cross, and then pass through the curtain to fellowship with Jesus in the Holy of Holies, where waves and wind cease; and where we find hope amidst the upheaval of this world.

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil” 
Hebrews 6:19

© 2019 by Ken Peters

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