In recent weeks I have had opportunities to chat with various people and some have testified of their own fears or have noted that they have mature Christian friends who are being overwhelmed emotionally by this crisis. Others are going through inner turmoil, anxiety and depression due to the isolation or due to an increased intensity with dysfunctional relationships from which there is no longer an escape.
Varying word pictures can come to one’s mind:
– Tumbleweed careening over the landscape being driven along in every direction by chaotic winds
– A houseboat ripped away from its moorings by hurricane winds and beginning to break apart on mad waves
– A man spread eagle on a ledge, back pinned against the outside of a tall building — no longer wishing to jump but paralyzed with fear unable to climb in for safety
– A person curled up in a ball on the floor trying to shut out all noise, all stressors, all threats
Probably none of us are in any of those situations literally, but perhaps we can identify with them emotionally. As we are buffeted by winds of uncertainty, where do we find anchors that run deep, so deep that they cannot be shaken?
The Person and Character of God — Psalm 62:11 tells us, “One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: ‘Power belongs to you, God, and with You, Lord, is unfailing love’.” God is strong and He is loving. We can rest in the fact that He is both, all the time. His motives in our lives are always for our good, even when this is not immediately apparent. “For we KNOW that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 He is in control when all else is out of control and for OUR good.
The Cross — Christ’s action in climbing on to that place of torture and spreading open His arms to embrace our sin and our punishment was complete, once for all, thorough and all sufficient. He meant it when He cried out, “It is finished!” “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 Guilt and shame are to be a thing of the past. All has been paid for at the cross. His love toward you is never ending, unfailing.
The Resurrection — Death has been conquered and our Loved One has gone ahead to prepare a place for us to bring us to Himself. All else in life to which we cling pales in comparison to the glorious friendship that will be ours forever. What do you fear losing due to this virus? Do you see possible death as loss? Are you filled with the dread that your list of beloved dreams will be missed by you? …the graduation of your children, their weddings, the joy of holding the grandkids, the wonderful years of family dinners, and the fruit of so many years of labor? All of these are simply appetizers for the main meal. As good as they are, greater family times await us all in the Kingdom.
The Hope to Which He Has Called You — In Ephesians 4:16-18, the Apostle Paul prays for us that our eyes will be opened to KNOW the hope to which God has called us. Elsewhere this is defined as secure, untouchable, incorruptible, stored up in heaven for us. We are to keep this fixed in view, to fix our eyes on things unseen, not on the temporary things that frighten us, but on the permanent. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.” Hebrews 6:19-20a Our anchor reaches through the veil into the eternal temple where we are tied into Jesus Christ Himself!*
Use these anchors for the soul to talk yourself off the ledge. Recognize that you are “tied in” like a mountain climber or a window washer on belay, secure even if one’s own grip fails. Your anchor holds against the solid rock. Meditate on these things and you will no longer be like half-dead tumbleweed careening around, but like the tree planted by streams of water with leaves that never wither, bearing fruit in its season.
With you in the journey toward safe haven, Christopher