OR men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 6:16-20)
I chose today’s hymn as a devotion to follow on my Anglican Morning Devotion – The ROCK of the DEEP. The author of the lyrics was a Baptist minister, Rev. W.C. Martin, around 1900. The tune, Though the Angry Surges Roll, is the composition by the same author. It is a hymn to quiet our doubts and to encourage our confidence in that Solid Rock that led Israel in the Wilderness wanderings, and that Rock was Christ!
My Anchor Holds
Tho’ the angry surges roll
On my tempest-driven soul,
I am peaceful, for I know,
Wildly though the winds may blow,
I’ve an anchor safe and sure,
That can evermore endure.
And it holds, my anchor holds:
Blow your wildest, then, O gale,
On my bark so small and frail;
By His grace I shall not fail,
For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.
Mighty tides about me sweep,
Perils lurk within the deep,
Angry clouds o’ershade the sky,
And the tempest rises high;
Still I stand the tempest’s shock,
For my anchor grips the rock.
I can feel the anchor fast
As I meet each sudden blast,
And the cable, though unseen,
Bears the heavy strain between;
Thro’ the storm I safely ride,
Till the turning of the tide.
Troubles almost ’whelm the soul;
Griefs like billows o’er me roll;
Tempters seek to lure astray;
Storms obscure the light of day:
But in Christ I can be bold,
I’ve an anchor that shall hold.
Tho’ the angry surges roll On my tempest-driven soul, I am peaceful, for I know, Wildly though the winds may blow, I’ve an anchor safe and sure, That can evermore endure. There is a great rock that guards the sea passage from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean called The Rock of Gibraltar. It is named for the invading Moor General Jabel al-Tariq, who invaded Spain from across the straits at Gibraltar in 711 AD. It is an immovable Rock of remarkable size and strength. It cannot be moved. Whoever controls this prominent land feature controls the Straits over which that Rock stands guard day and night, summer and winter. The most violent waves of the sea crashing against this Rock cannot move it. It is a great illustration of that Rock of God which is Christ our Lord. He stands guard over His own both day and night, winter and summer, and through the blissful breezes of the Spring winds to the tumultuous storms of the Autumn blasts. With that Rock as our Anchor and Foundation Stone, we cannot be moved, and shall not be. It is an eternal Anchor for the soul.
Mighty tides about me sweep, Perils lurk within the deep, Angry clouds o’ershade the sky, And the tempest rises high; Still I stand the tempest’s shock, For my anchor grips the rock. It took a great measure of faith for Peter to request the Lord to invite him to walk on the restless waves of Galilee, yet, at the command of the Lord, Peter did muster the courage to walk on the stormy sea; yet, when he took his focus off the Lord and beheld the turbulent waters below, his faith failed him as it does all believers who take their focus off Christ. He began to sink in the turbid waters. His only prayer, the shortest of which I am aware, was: “Lord, Save Me!” Sometimes that is the only prayer we have time to utter, but it was sufficient for Peter, and it will be sufficient for us. It is not our courage that strengthens us to stand in the storm, but His! It is not the power of our feet that keeps us steady in the storm, but the Anchor that holds fast to the Rock – the Anchor of Hope in Christ.
I can feel the anchor fast As I meet each sudden blast, And the cable, though unseen, Bears the heavy strain between; Thro’ the storm I safely ride, Till the turning of the tide. Every Anchor requires a tether to hold its object from drifting. That tether is the Cable of Faith in Christ to preserve us in every circumstance – and He does. That tether is invisible to the multitudes, but holds us as a magnetic force of immense power. If the tether lacks faith sufficient to hold, we, like Peter, may sink in the stormy waters, but even then, the Lord superintends our safety and lifts us when we fall.
Troubles almost ’whelm the soul; Griefs like billows o’er me roll; Tempters seek to lure astray; Storms obscure the light of day: But in Christ I can be bold, I’ve an anchor that shall hold. The lyrics of this hymn reinforce our understanding of the security of the believer in Christ. God does not remove the storms in our lives, but gives us a secure Rock upon which to cast our Anchor to remain steadfast and sure. The storm itself is a blessing to us to build the strength of our faith in the Rock that remains immovable. With each mastering of our fears, our hope and courage is made stronger in the possession of that Rock and Anchor.
And it holds, my anchor holds: Blow your wildest, then, O gale, On my bark so small and frail By His grace I shall not fail, For my anchor holds, my anchor holds. It is by no means the craft (our souls) we use to navigate the seas of life that is sufficient to preserve us from the storm, but the Anchor and Rock to which it is secured. The intensity of the tempest and its accompanying gales are irrelevant to our security if we have aboard our vessel (soul) the Master of the Seas. Though He may seem asleep and oblivious to our predicaments in life, He knows and is ready to save after our faith is tested only a little. What is the source of our faith? Is it not a grant of grace through our Lord Jesus Christ and nothing of our own deserving?
ND the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:35-41)
He is ever with you in your bark (soul) of life. Why so fearful of every blast and billow? If you will know by faith that He is always at your side, what other can you fear? He is the big brother whose hand you hold among many vicious enemies on the playground. He is bigger and stronger than them all. Stay by His side and be free. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)