Anchor Deep and Hold On -- by Nathan H. Ray

As heard on the Good Stuff with Jim Thompson


 "If you can remain calm, maybe you just don't have all the facts." When I recently read this quote in the Meyer's Family publication "The Purple Paper" (1), it hit a little too close to home to be funny because it describes my life of recent weeks. Perhaps you can relate as well.


Many people I know, myself included, seem to be exerting a lot of energy these days just trying to keep their heads above water. To say the least, days of late seem to be rather hectic, at times feeling like everything around us is out of control.


During seasons like this in my life, I am encouraged by remembering the real-life story Max Lucado relates in his book "Six Hours One Friday". In Chapter 1, he tells of the time in Florida during his younger years (in 1979) when he and his roommates were preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane David (in 1979).  In Max’s words:


"Floridians don't have to be told to duck when a hurricane is on the warpath. Windows were taped up, canned goods were bought, flashlights were tested. David was about to pounce.


 "On the Miami River a group of single guys was trying to figure out the best way to protect their houseboat. Not that it was much of a vessel. It was, at best, a rustic cabin on a leaky barge. But it was home. And if they didn't do something, their home was going to be at the bottom of the river.


 "None of the fellows had ever lived on a boat before, much less weathered a hurricane. Any sailor worth his salt would have had a good laugh watching those landlubbers.


 "It was like a McHale's Navy rerun. They bought enough rope to tie up the Queen Mary. They had their boat tied to trees, tied to moorings, tied to herself. When they were through, the little craft looked as if she'd been caught in a spider's web. They were so busy tying her to everything, it's a wonder one of the guys didn't get tied up.


 "How was I privy to such a fiasco? You guessed it. The houseboat was mine.


 "Don't ask what I was doing with a houseboat. Part adventure and part bargain, I guess. But that Labor Day weekend was more adventure than I'd bargained for. I had owned the boat for three monthly payments, and now I was about to have to sacrifice her to the hurricane! I was desperate. Tie her down! was all I could think.


 "I was reaching the end of my rope, in more ways than one, when Phil showed up. Now Phil knew boats. He even looked boat-wise.


 "He was born wearing a suntan and dock-siders. He spoke the lingo and knew the knots. He also knew hurricanes. Word on the river had it that he had ridden one out for three days in a ten-foot sailboat. They made him a living legend.



"He felt sorry for us, so he came to give some advice and it was sailor-sound. 'Tie her to land and you'll regret it. Those trees are gonna get eaten by the 'cane. Your only hope is to anchor deep,' he said. 'Place four anchors in four different locations, leave the rope slack and pray for the best.' " (2)


 Good advice in times of trouble, don't you think?


 What do you do...


     When life hits you full in the face?


          When it feels like the wind has been taken out of your sails?


                When you're being tossed to and fro in a sea of madness?


 How do you hang on? Do you cling to the wisdom of this world or to wisdom that seems out of this world? The advice given to Max by the seasoned seaman seems to be the wisest: "Anchor deep, leave the rope slack and pray for the best."


 I can almost hear God giving you the same counsel...


... when you unexpectedly lose your job and can't find another one.


... when the mate you have chosen for life walks out the door and won't listen to your tearful pleas for reconciliation.


... when the doctor tells you, or someone you love, the sad news.


... when you feel the painful impact of gossip, cruelty and backbiting. Anchor deep, leave the rope slack and pray for the best...


... when the stress at work is overwhelming and oppressive.


... when you look at yourself in the mirror at night and realize the mistakes you've made that day are the ones you thought you'd never make again.


... when you're ready to give up, but know that's not God's will.


 When life seems insane and out of control....... anchor deep, leave the rope slack and pray for the best.


 There have been times in my life, especially recently, when I survive, not by holding on to the wisdom of this age, but only by holding on to my faith in the Anchor of Life. I make it through tough times by clinging to the conviction that God is in control of every moment even when I'm not, knowing that the wisest thing I can do is leave the rope slack (let go of the situation) and pray for the best (God's Will to be done, not mine).


 If you are experiencing unpleasant trials, my friend, anchor deep, hold on to your faith and pray. God may calm the storm, or He may choose to calm the center of your soul amidst the storm. Either way, you'll make it safe to harbor.