From May 6th to 12th, we were on a riverboat cruise in the Netherlands. I learned that many ships, especially freighters, which ply the rivers and canals of Europe, have devices, called in Dutch "Spit Palen", which are vertical posts installed in the ship, usually at the front and the back. These poles dig into the river bottom and anchor the ship when it is being loaded or unloaded. To get some clarification about these, I talked to the captain of the ship that we were on, Captain Jeroen de Bruijn. Although our ship did not have them, he explained that these steel devices may be as long as 15 to 20 metres, and usually square, about 30 centimetres on a side. Their telescoping parts fit inside one another, and when the ship is required to stay in one place, they are let down by their own weight. They sink up to a metre into the harbour bottom underneath the ship, anchoring it to the riverbed. As the ship rises or lowers with the weight of the cargo while it is being loaded or unloaded, the telescoping parts slide to compensate in length. In this way, no ropes are needed to keep the ship in place. When the ship is ready to move on, the posts are winched up again, and the ship is on its way. Even when there are storms or when waves pound against the ship, it is securely held in place by these poles.
When we think of an anchor, we usually picture a heavy object that's tied to a ship to keep it securely attached to the bottom of the sea. An anchor is something that provides a firm foundation and security, as do the posts which keep the ship in place. In Scripture, the anchor is used metaphorically to represent our faith in God, which keeps us steadfast and gives us hope during the trials and storms of life.
Hebrews 6:18-19 – God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. (NIV)
When the storms of ill health threaten our lives, when the winds of financial insecurity blow against us, when the waves of worry pound on our very hearts, when the world all around us seems to be in such turmoil, then we are assured by our faith that we are anchored securely to our unchangeable God.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, regardless of whatever may happen to us or around us, we are so thankful for the assurance that our faith in Jesus is the anchor which securely holds us in place. We thank You in His name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Nearer My God To Thee" (Lyrics)