The Anchor of Hope
Updated: Nov 7
Hope is the ability to confidently look towards the future with joyful expectation. Doesn't that sound like a wonderful thing?! There isn't a person in the world who wouldn't love to approach the future with confidence, and as they think about what is coming, to be filled with joy.
What a ship on the sea is anchored to matters. That seems fairly obvious. But, in a similar way, what a person's hope is anchored to also matters. What your hope is attached to will determine how strong and stable that hope is...and there are lots of options.
If my hope is dependent on a sports team, how stable is that hope? If I have attached my hope to the economy, how confident can I be in it? A person can put hope in a lot of different things: a job, a relationship, health, an idea, the outcome of an election, and the list goes on.
Where Have You Placed Your Hope?
If I anchor my ship to the wrong thing, I will quite likely end up shipless: my ship will be gone. And if a person puts their hope in the wrong thing, they will quite likely end up hopeless: all their hope will be gone. The truth is, there is a right place and there is a wrong place to put your hope. What about you? Where is your hope anchored? What is it attached to? What does your hope depend on?
If my ship is gone, I have obviously anchored it to the wrong thing. And if my hope is gone, I have obviously placed it in the wrong thing. So, do you have hope today? Are you able to confidently look towards the future with joy-filled expectation?
Head Hung Low
Many times, God's Word poses a question and then answers it for us. Like in Psalm 42:5, the question is asked, "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?" (NLT). The writer of the psalm is actually asking themselves this question, which might be more literally said, "Why, my soul, are you downcast?" When the Bible says "soul," it is talking about the deepest part of who we are as humans. This is not the outside façade that the majority of people see, but it is the most authentic part of us. The part of someone that is truly only known by an individual and God Himself is called their soul. And the word "downcast" is the picture of someone who is completely discouraged: head hung low, eyes toward the ground, shoulders slouched, with no strength to move upward or onward. It is a word-picture meaning that you feel as if you have been "cast down," that is, thrown to the ground.
Choose The Better Anchor
The answer that is given in Psalm 42 is simply, "Put your hope in God!" It seems that the writer was feeling so downcast because they he had been placing his hope in the wrong thing. Again, when that happens, the result is hopelessness: the loss of confidence, joy and enthusiasm for life. The result is discouragement, depression and despair. But just as much as putting our hope in the wrong things result in what is no good, the result of putting our hope in the right thing results in what is so good! A rightly placed hope is strong and stable; steady and unmoving. There are lots of wrong places to put our hope, and there is indeed one right place. In God we trust and in the name of His Son Jesus we have placed our hope. Certainly Jesus gives us hope for this life; but much more importantly, in Jesus, our hope goes far beyond this life (1 Corinthians 15:19-20). Jesus is alive and is reigning as the King of Heaven and Earth. He has promised that those who put their faith in Him are filled with the hope that one day, we will raise again, as He did. He will be our King and we will be His people. This is our unshakable hope. Those who anchor themselves to Jesus will never be hopeless, but will confidently look towards the future will joyful expectation.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. -Psalm 62:5-8 (ESV)