Hope In A Time Of Crisis

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, New Zealand. Author photo.

We are so quickly led to fear and despair and most of us cannot endure that for long without some sliver of hope.

It’s the unexpected things that hit you hardest. The ones you don’t see coming and can’t prepare for. Suddenly, your hopes, plans and dreams lay in ruins and you’re left shaking your head and wondering, “What just happened?” In Acts 27, Luke tells the story of a boat trip, an unexpected storm and what they did to avert shipwreck.

“When a gentle southerly breeze came up, they weighed anchor, thinking it would be smooth sailing. But they were no sooner out to sea than a gale-force wind, the infamous nor’easter, struck. They lost all control of the ship. It was a cork in the storm.” (Acts 27:13–15, MSG)

How suddenly life changes. Light seas and gentle breezes morph into gale-force winds as thunder cracks the sky and snatches away the illusion that you were ever in control.

Covid-19 might be that storm for you. 2020 began as a gentle breeze and you thought the future held smooth sailing, unaware of the tempest bearing down.

The storm drove Paul’s ship, out of control, before it. They lost cargo and,

“Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.” (Acts 27:29, NIV)

The storm could have destroyed the ship, but the anchors held it secure through the tumultuous night until daylight arrived.

When an unexpected storm blows in and the sea around you is littered with the debris of your life, how do you keep from being smashed against the rocks? Do you have an anchor that will hold you secure through the darkness until daylight arrives?

“Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. God’s love is still working. He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out His wonderful plan of love.” Eric Liddell

I have known times when doubt, fear and uncertainty clawed at me like an angry storm. But I have also learned there is an anchor that can hold you, despite the battering. That anchor is hope.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast.” (Hebrews 6: 19)

Experts agree that in times of crisis, hope is a most needful thing. Without hope, we can be shipwrecked. Without hope, we can be overcome by despair, fear and anxiety. Without hope, we can spiral down. But with hope, no matter the dark place you are in or the storm that rages, you can be held securely until the darkness passes and daylight finally arrives.

It’s worth asking ourselves about where our hope lies. Is it tied to a future good outcome? Like the economy coming right, your dream being fulfilled or your health recovering? In that case, your hope might prove an unreliable anchor if those outcomes don’t eventuate.

Biblical hope goes deeper than this. It has a life of its own, seemingly without reference to external circumstances and conditions. It has something to do with an experience of being met and of being held in communion. It is a journey toward the innermost parts of our being where we meet and are met by God.

And having met Him in the storm, a confident expectation (hope) arises. Not confidence in knowing how things will turn out, but confidence that somehow,

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” Julian of Norwich.

In the worst of storms, with no sign of a break in the weather and when all natural hope is lost, there remains hope in God. A hope that bears the fruit of strength, joy, and peace: a “lightness of being”, despite the heaviness surrounding you.

Such hope exists and can be found. And when found, it will change your innermost way of seeing. From there, inevitably, the externals of our lives will rearrange themselves.

We crave security, stability and knowing. But unexpected circumstances may snatch these away leaving uncertainty, unpredictability and unknowing. At such times, Corrie Ten Boom, encourages us, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

That’s an anchor that will hold you secure in the severest storm!

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