W hen I was a little girl, my family had a place at the beach. We’d head out on Friday afternoons for a weekend trip and I’d watch the world go by out the car window all over again as we made our way home on Sundays.


I loved to swim in the ocean. I loved diving through the waves, pretending to be a dolphin, and then riding one in without a board. Just me and the water, and usually the sand I collected in my bathing suit.

Every once in a while, a good set of waves would come in, and things would sometimes get a little scary. Big waves would come in, one after another, hard and fast. I’d dive under one, and as I came up for air, another was right in front of me, and I’d need to dive again. It was sometimes a little daunting — and even though I couldn’t see it, I had to trust that the set would come to an end and I’d get a chance to rest, or find a less threatening wave to ride in, soon.

Chatting with a friend the other day, I realised that sometimes life can feel like that. Some days…some weeks…even some years, you feel like the waves just keep coming. Your soul is like a little ship at sea, just trying to stay afloat through one more wave. And then another comes. And another.

Hebrews 6 has an interesting solution for those feeling out to sea and buffeted on every side. And it’s not faith or love or patience or even self-control. It’s hope.

Verse 19 describes hope as the anchor for our souls. It’s the thing that grounds our souls in high seas — keeps us from being tossed when the waves are high and they threaten to push us in the wrong direction or even tip us over.

Thinking back, the times when my “hope quotient” was low — when I forgot to believe that God has my future in His hands — have often been some of the toughest times of my life. Without hope, we often feel directionless, powerless, and unable to make any effort toward anything — it all seems pointless. Life seems like a waste of time. Every move is an exercise in futility.

We’ve heard this verse so many times before, but I think we can sometimes struggle to let it truly sink in and stay in:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” {Jeremiah 29:11}

Why does He need to give us hope? Because the human heart cannot function for very long without it. Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote, “If you want to utterly crush a man, just give him work that’s of a completely senseless, irrational nature.” When what we’re doing seems hopeless, we struggle to find a reason to exist.

The story is told of a concentration camp outside Hungary where prisoners were forced to move a pile of dirt from one end of the compound to the other, back and forth day after day. The exercise went on for weeks when an old man began sobbing uncontrollably. He was led away by his captors to be executed. Days later, another man who had survived in the camp for three years suddenly darted away from the group and threw himself on an electrified fence.*

Indeed, we need to feel that our life matters. That our existence has meaning. We need to have hope for our future. And regardless of what life might bring us, the little ship of ours — our souls at sea — are on a journey heavenbound. And the hope that will anchor us, sure and steadfast on the journey, is hope in Jesus Christ — the author and perfecter of our faith. It was out of hope — for the joy set before Him — that He endured the cross. And His finished work on that cross is the very hope of our salvation — that no matter how many waves crash upon us in this life, we know that in the life to come those waves will cease.

As Matthew Henry explains it, the believer’s anchor fixes upon Christ — he is the object, and the anchor-hold of the believer’s hope.

“As an unseen glory within the veil is what the believer is hoping for, so an unseen Jesus within the veil is the foundation of his hope; the free grace of God, the merits and mediation of Christ, and the powerful influences of his Spirit, are the grounds of his hope, and so it is a steadfast hope.”

Do you see a correlation between how you feel about life and what you believe about what’s ahead? If your life had a hope-ometer attached, what might it measure today?


*Cited in Dr. James Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys, p. 246 – 247.