Find an anchor in the storm

Published 9:48 pm Friday, September 8, 2017

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

During the past couple of weeks our hearts have gone out to the people of the Gulf Coast, who found themselves in the path of a great storm, Hurricane Harvey.

By the time you read this, we will know more about Hurricane Irma. As I write early in the week its path is uncertain, but it is certain that people somewhere will be impacted.

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For some of us, these storms are reminders of past hurricanes. Some of us have experienced flooding in our homes. We know what it is like, though perhaps on a smaller scale than Harvey.

But for all of us, these storms are a reminder that we live in a broken world, a world that features literal storms and life storms.

Acts 27 is one of the most famous, vivid and detailed storm accounts in ancient literature. The Apostle Paul and hundreds of others are on a ship, bound for Rome, when a vicious storm strikes. After many days of being violently tossed about by the waves and driven along by the wind, not seeing sun or stars, most had given up hope.

But Paul would not give up hope. He had some anchors to hold onto, which he shared with the others.

He stood up and said, “I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told” (Acts 27:22-25).

There are some anchors here for our own storms.

First is the anchor of God’s promises.

God had promised Paul that he would one day stand before Caesar and bear witness in Rome. God had made that promise to Paul previously, and the angel reiterated that promise.

When we face storms, we need to go back to the promises of God. Of course, that means we must know his promises, and that means knowing our Bibles.

Second is the anchor of God’s presence.

God came to Paul in the night through his angelic messenger. Christianity rests on the fact that we have a God who came to us. He became flesh and lived among us. Jesus is God with us.

Now, his Holy Spirit — God’s empowering presence — has been poured out, and dwells in his people. We are not alone in life’s storms.

Third is the anchor of God’s ownership.

Paul describes God as “the God to whom I belong.” The Bible tells the followers of Jesus, “You are not your own. You were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

We are his. He has redeemed us with the blood of Jesus, and he will never leave us or forsake us.

One day there will be no more storms for God’s people. King Jesus is coming again, and he will bring about a new heaven and earth, a restored creation, with none of the brokenness that we see now. Do you belong to the King?

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.